Prevention of artificial dental plaque formation in vitro by plant extracts.

Research paper by J J Smullen, M M Finney, D M DM Storey, H A HA Foster

Indexed on: 04 Jul '12Published on: 04 Jul '12Published in: Journal of Applied Microbiology


A number of previous studies have shown that plant extracts can inhibit formation of dental plaque. The ability of extracts of Rosmarinus officianalis L., Salvia officianalis L., unfermented cocoa, red grape seed and green tea to inhibit plaque bacteria, glucosyltransferase activity, glucan and plaque formation in an in vitro model using bovine teeth was examined.The antimicrobial activity of the plant extracts against oral bacteria was determined using a standard susceptibility agar dilution technique. Inhibition of growth and acid production from glucose and sucrose by Streptococcus mutans in liquid culture was investigated. Prevention of plaque formation on bovine teeth initiated by Strep. mutans was studied using an artificial mouth. The plant extracts inhibited the growth of oral bacteria and prevented acid production by Strep. mutans. Extracts inhibited glucosyltransferase activity and glucan production and inhibited adhesion to glass. Extracts of R. officianalis L. and S. officianalis L. at 0·25 mg ml(-1) reduced plaque growth by >80%. Green tea extract completely inhibited plaque formation but resulted in a greenish discolouration of the teeth which could not be removed by scrubbing.The plant extracts, particularly those from R. officianalis L. and S. officianalis L., inhibited glucosyltranferase activity, glucan production and plaque formation in vitro.The results suggest that the extracts of R. officianalis L. and S. officianalis L. may be useful as antiplaque agents in foods and dental preparations. Bovine teeth can be used as an alternative to hydroxyapatite for studies of plaque formation, but they need to be carefully sterilized before use.