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New Insights Into The Composition And Functions Of The Acquired Enamel Pellicle

W.L. Siqueira, W. Custodio, E.E. McDonald

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The acquired enamel pellicle (AEP) is a thin acellular film that forms on tooth surfaces upon exposure to the oral environment. It consists predominantly of salivary proteins, but also includes non-salivary-derived proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. Since it is the interface between teeth and the oral environment, the AEP plays a key role in the maintenance of oral health by regulating processes including lubrication, demineralization, and remineralization and shaping the composition of early microbial flora adhering to tooth surfaces. Knowledge of the 3D structure of the AEP and how that correlates with its protective functions may provide insight into several oral pathological states, including caries, erosion, and periodontal disease. This review intends to update readers about the latest discoveries related to the formation, ultrastructure, composition, and functions of the AEP, as well as the future of pellicle research, with particular emphasis on the emerging role of proteomic and microscopy techniques in oral diagnosis and therapeutics.