Numerous in vitro biofilm model systems are available to study oral biofilms. Over the past several decades, increased understanding of oral biology and advances in technology have facilitated more accurate simulation of intraoral conditions and have allowed for the increased generalizability of in vitro oral biofilm studies. The integration of contemporary systems with confocal microscopy and 16S rRNA community profiling have enhanced the capabilities of in vitro biofilm model systems to quantify biofilm architecture and analyze microbial community composition. In this review, we describe several model systems relevant to modern in vitro oral biofilm studies: the constant depth film fermenter, Sorbarod perfusion system, drip-flow reactor, modified Robbins device, flowcells, and microfluidic systems. We highlight how combining these systems with confocal microscopy and community composition analysis tools aids exploration of oral biofilm development under different conditions and in response to antimicrobial/anti-biofilm agents. The review closes with a discussion of future directions for the field of in vitro oral biofilm imaging and analysis.
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