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Int J Oral Biol. 2016 Dec;41(4):209-215. Korean. Original Article.
Lee SY , Lee SY .
Department of Oral Microbiology, College of Dentistry, Research Institute of Oral Science, Gangneung-Wonju National University, Gangneung, 210-702, Korea.

Chlorhexidine has long been used in mouth washes for the control of dental caries, gingivitis and dental plaque. Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) is the lowest concentration of an antimicrobial substance to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Concentrations lower than the MIC are called sub minimal inhibitory concentrations (sub-MICs). Many studies have reported that sub-MICs of antimicrobial substances can affect the virulence of bacteria. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of sub-MIC chlorhexidine on biofilm formation and coaggregation of oral early colonizers, such as Streptococcus gordonii, Actinomyces naeslundii and Actinomyces odontolyticus. The biofilm formation of S. gordonii, A. naeslundii and A. odontolyticus was not affected by sub-MIC chlorhexidine. However, the biofilm formation of S. mutans increased after incubation with sub-MIC chlorhexidine. In addition, cell surface hydrophobicity of S. mutans treated with sub-MIC of chlorhexidine, decreased when compared with the group not treated with chlorhexidine. However, significant differences were seen with other bacteria. Coaggregation of A. naeslundii with A. odontolyticus reduced by sub-MIC chlorhexidine, whereas the coaggreagation of A. naeslundii with S. gordonii remained unaffected. These results indicate that sub-MIC chlorhexidine could influence the binding properties, such as biofilm formation, hydrophobicity and coaggregation, in early colonizing streptococci and actinomycetes.

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