Meet Bente Nyvad

“Our caries lesion classification system is the first to provide a direct link between the diagnosis and the most suitable intervention for the caries lesion.”

Exploring the unknown of dental biofilm ecology

How can we use our insights into biofilm ecology and dental caries dynamics to improve disease control for the benefit of individual patients and lager population groups? This is a fundamental question for Professor Bente Nyvad, who strives to understand the secrets of dental biofilm communities and their interactions in the oral cavity with the explicit aim to maintain a balanced microflora compatible with health.

Bente Nyvad initiated dental biofilm research in the 1980´s by exploring the basic structural and microbiological pattern of colonization of human tooth surfaces. Some of her studies inspired to a revised classification of oral streptococci. In recent years, Bente Nyvad has explored the ecological caries hypothesis in a series of review papers, and in 2020, she introduced an integrated hypothesis of dental caries and periodontal diseases.

“We found that fermentable carbohydrates are a major ecological determinant of microbial acid adaptation and acid selection processes which leads to dysbiosis and disease development in the oral cavity. Yet, the biological mechanisms that control or restore the microbial community balance after disturbance are not well understood. Broadening our understanding of how to maintain dynamic stability of the oral microbiota is a pertinent research question,” Bente Nyvad states.

In parallel, Bente Nyvad has been the principal investigator of clinical studies leading to the development and implementation of a new visual-tactile caries lesion classification, referred to as the “Nyvad criteria”.

”These criteria exploit our observation that active non-cavitated caries lesions can be differentiated from inactive non-cavitated lesions by simple clinical features, and our caries lesion classification system is the first to provide a direct link between the diagnosis and the most suitable intervention for the caries lesion,” explains Bente Nyvad.

The Nyvad criteria are course material in dental schools worldwide, and are endorsed by the Danish Board of Health as part of the national caries management programme.

Bente Nyvad is editor of the scientific journal “Caries Research” and the leading international textbook “Dental Caries. The Disease and its Clinical Management”. In 2013, Bente Nyvad received the Yngve Ericsson Prize in Preventive Odontology. Her scientific output ranks number four in a recent bibliometric analysis of the 100 most cited papers in cariology.

“Our caries lesion classification system is the first to provide a direct link between the diagnosis and the most suitable intervention for the caries lesion.”