Effect of food preservatives on in situ biofilm formation
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The aim of this double-blind, controlled crossover study was to evaluate the influence of food preservatives on in situ dental biofilm growth. Twenty-four volunteers wore appliances with six specimens each of bovine enamel to build up intra-oral biofilms. During three test cycles, the subjects had to put one half of the appliance twice a day in one of the assigned active solutions (0.1% benzoate, BA; 0.1% sorbate, SA or 0.2% chlorhexidine, CHX) and the other into NaCl. After 5 days, the developed biofilms were stained with two fluorescent dyes to visualise vital (green) and dead bacteria (red). Biofilms were scanned by confocal laser scanning microscopy and biofilm thickness (BT) and bacterial vitality (BV%) were calculated. After a washout period of 7 days, a new test cycle was started. The use of SA, BA and CHX resulted in a significantly reduced BT and BV compared to NaCl (p < 0.001). Differences between SA and BA were not significant (p > 0.05) for both parameters, while CHX showed significantly lower values. Both preservatives showed antibacterial and plaque-inhibiting properties, but not to the extent of CHX. The biofilm model enabled the examination of undisturbed oral biofilm formation influenced by antibacterial components under clinical conditions.