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Publication Date



Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Source Publication

Tissue Engineering Part B: Reviews

Source ISSN



Oral mucosa is the target tissue for many microorganisms involved in periodontitis and other infectious diseases affecting the oral cavity. Three-dimensional (3D) in vitro and ex vivo oral mucosa equivalents have been used for oral disease modeling and investigation of the mechanisms of oral bacterial and fungal infections. This review was conducted to analyze different studies using 3D oral mucosa models for the evaluation of the interactions of different microorganisms with oral mucosa. In this study, based on our inclusion criteria, 43 articles were selected and analyzed. Different types of 3D oral mucosa models of bacterial and fungal infections were discussed in terms of the biological system used, culture conditions, method of infection, and the biological endpoints assessed in each study. The critical analysis revealed some contradictory reports in this field of research in the literature. Challenges in recovering bacteria from oral mucosa models were further discussed, suggesting possible future directions in microbiomics, including the use of oral mucosa-on-a-chip. The potential use of these 3D tissue models for the evaluation of the effects of antiseptic agents on bacteria and oral mucosa was also addressed. This review concluded that there were many aspects that would require optimization and standardization with regard to using oral mucosal models for infection by microorganisms. Using new technologies—such as microfluidics and bioreactors—could help to reproduce some of the physiologically relevant conditions and further simulate the clinical situation.

Impact statement

Tissue-engineered or commercial models of the oral mucosa are very useful for the study of diseases that involve the interaction of microorganisms and oral epithelium. In this review, challenges in recovering bacteria from oral mucosa models, the potential use of these three-dimensional tissue models for the evaluation of the effects of antiseptic agents, and future directions in microbiomics are discussed.


Accepted version. Tissue Engineering Part B : Reviews, Vol. 26, No. 5 (October 2020): 443-460. DOI. © 2020 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Used with permission.

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