J Dent Hyg Sci.  2021 Mar;21(1):38-44. 10.17135/jdhs.2021.21.1.38.

Natural Blue Pigment from Gardenia jasminoides Ellis (Rubiaceae) as a Dental Plaque Disclosant

  • 1Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Health Science, Eulji University, Seongnam 13135, Korea
  • 2Department of Food Technology and Services, College of Health Industry, Eulji University, Seongnam 13135, Korea


Dental caries and periodontal disease are bacterial infectious disease, mainly caused by plaque, a bacterial colony deposited on the tooth surface and gum tissue. Dental plaque disclosants easily stain the dental plaque, making them effective for scaling and tooth brushing education. As the erythrosine typically contained in dental plaque disclosants is highly cytotoxic, a low toxicity additive is needed. In this study, we aimed to examine the natural pigments with negligible cytotoxicity but can effectively stain the dental plaques for use in dental plaque disclosants.
The pigmentation of eight types of natural pigments was tested on bovine tongue and teeth, as well as on head and neck tissue sections of experimental ICR mice. The cytotoxicity of gingival epithelial cells was measured via MTT assay. Pigmentation was performed on the bovine tongue and tooth surface. Pigmentation in the oral environment was observed in four mandibular incisors. A 2 Tone was used as a control.
Of the eight types of natural pigments, purple and blue pigments were effective in coloring dental plaques on the enamel surface as well as in the head and neck tissue sections. Additionally, purple and blue pigments were visible on the surface of the bovine tongue. Red, pink, orange, green, purple, and yellow pigments showed strong cytotoxicity, whereas brown and blue pigments had relatively low cytotoxicity. Blue pigment was effective in staining the dental plaque of four mandibular incisors.
We suggest that the blue pigment derived from Gardenia jasminoides Ellis (Rubiaceae), which is effective for coloring dental plaques and has low cytotoxicity, is useful as a naturally derived dental disclosant.


Dental caries; Dental plaque; Oral hygiene; Periodontitis; Pigmentation
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