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Caries Res. 1991;25(3):185-90.

Interactions of sanguinarine and zinc on oral streptococci and Actinomyces species.

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  • 1Department of Oral Biology, Eastman Dental Center Rochester, N.Y.


Sanguinaria extract, which contains benzophenanthridine alkaloids, has been used as a folk medicine for many years. Minimum inhibitory and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MIC and MBC values) for sanguinarine were determined for common and etiologically important plaque bacteria. Because the efficacy of sanguinarine is believed to be enhanced by zinc, isobolograms were assessed to determine their mode(s) of interaction. Hydrogen ion concentration influenced the inhibitory activity of both sanguinarine and zinc. For sanguinarine, at the optimum pH (6.5), MIC values were 4 or 8 micrograms/ml for Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sobrinus, Streptococcus sanguis, Actinomyces viscosus and Actinomyces naeslundii. MIC values were 0.125-0.50 mmol Zn/ml. MBC values ranged from 1 to 8 mmol Zn/ml at pH 5.5. Isobologram data revealed that sanguinarine and zinc interacted synergistically. Viadent oral rinse, which contained 300 micrograms sanguinaria extract/ml and 0.2% zinc chloride (14.9 mmol Zn/l), was inhibitory to all strains tested. MIC values were 1 or 2% (ml Viadent oral rinse/100 ml aqueous solution) for all strains except A. viscosus for which the MIC value was 12% (vol/vol).

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