Application of Bacteriophage Therapy to Oral Hygiene
Mike Roslikov, Hongyang (Ollie) Zhao
Inquiry Hub, David Thompson Secondary
Floor Location : S 070 H

The objective of this project is to create a practical and effective method of preventing and treating dental caries using bacteriophages.

The gram-positive cocci shaped bacteria Streptococcus mutans is threatening to animals with a high sugar diet. Virtually every human has a large population in their oral cavities, mostly concentrated on tooth bound biofilm communities. The bacteria metabolizes simple carbohydrates and releases acidic compounds (mostly lactic acid), causing mineral loss in human teeth. As a result, human teeth are slowly disintegrated by this process, leading to dental caries and various health issues.

The benefit of phage therapy is the simplicity. Finding a new phage against a strain of bacteria is immensely simpler than the development of new antibiotics. Viruses also co-evolve with their hosts, meaning with the emergence of resistance comes a new phage capable of infection. This is also why bacteriophages can be far more effective in penetrating biofilms than antibiotics.

An artificial environment will be constructed that functionally mimics the human oral cavity. A 96-well plate filled with saliva and bordered with phosphate-buffered saline will be kept in a dark incubator at 37°C. A 1:1 sucrose solution is added to the wells simulate ingestion. Optical density is measured to analyze bacteria growth, ph is recorded to simulate tooth decay, and a biofilm assay is used to measure the amount of plaque formed.