The effect of chlorhexidine on defined, mixed culture oral biofilms grown in a novel model system

S. L. Kinniment, J. W.T. Wimpenny, D. Adams, Phillip Marsh*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    48 Citations (Scopus)


    In order to develop an improved method to evaluate antimicrobial agents for use in clinical dentistry, a constant-depth film fermenter (CDFF) has been used to generate biofilms of fixed depth comprising nine species of bacteria commonly found in dental plaque in health and disease. These bacteria were grown together initially in a conventional chemostat which was used to inoculate the CDFF over an 8 h period. Medium was then supplied directly to the CDFF and biofilms allowed to develop. The biofilms were then challenged with eight short pulses of two concentrations of chlorhexidine (0.0125 and 0.125% w/v). The lower concentration had a limited effect on the composition of the biofilms while a differential and substantial inhibition was obtained with a higher concentration. Actinomyces naeslundii was lost from the biofilm, and the viable counts of streptococci, Fusobacterium nucleatum and Porphyromonas gingivalis were inhibited by over three orders of magnitude by 0.125% chlorhexidine, whereas Veillonella dispar was only transiently affected. The findings were consistent with those from clinical studies of dental plaque, suggesting that this model would have a predictive value when evaluating novel antiplaque or antimicrobial inhibitors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)120-125
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Applied Bacteriology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


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