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Antibacterial effects of silver diamine fluoride on multi-species cariogenic biofilm on caries

May Lei Mei1, Quan-li Li2, Chun-Hung Chu1*, Edward Chin-Man Lo1 and Lakshman Perera Samaranayake1

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam Rd, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China

2 Stomatology Collage, Anhui Medical Univerisity, Hefei, People’s Republic of China

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Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 2013, 12:4  doi:10.1186/1476-0711-12-4

Published: 26 February 2013



Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) has clinical success in arresting dentin caries, this study aimed to investigate its mechanism of action.


Using a computer-controlled artificial mouth, we studied the effect of 38% SDF on cariogenic biofilms and dentin carious lesions. We used five common cariogenic bacteria (Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sobrinus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Actinomyces naeslundii) to form a cariogenic biofilm that generated carious lesions with a depth of approximately 70 um on human dentin blocks. We applied 38% SDF to the lesions in the test group and water to those in the control group. The blocks were incubated in the artificial mouth for 21 days before evaluation. Microbial kinetics, architecture, viability and distribution were evaluated every 7 days using colony forming unit (CFU), scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy. The physical properties of the carious lesions were evaluated with microhardness testing, energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR).


The CFU results revealed fewer colony forming units in the test group compared with the control group (p < 0.01). Scanning electron microscopy and confocal microscopy showed less bacterial growth in the test group, and confluent cariogenic biofilm in the control group (p < 0.01). The microhardness and weight percentages of calcium and phosphorus in the test group from the outermost 50mum were higher than in the control group (p < 0.05). EDS showed that calcium and phosphous were higher in outer 50 mum in test groups than in the control FTIR revealed less exposed collagen I in the test lesions compared with the control group (p < 0.01).


38% SDF inhibits multi-species cariogenic biofilm formation on dentin carious lesions and reduces the demineralization process.