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J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2000 Oct;11(10):637-42.

Effect of hydrophobicity on in vitro streptococcal adhesion to dental alloys.

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Laboratoire d'Etude des Interfaces et des Biofilms en Odontologie, Faculté d'Odontologie, rue G. Paradin, 69372 Lyon cedex 08, France.


Non-specific interactions such as electrostatic interactions, and surface free energy are of importance in bacterial adhesion to dental surfaces as they determine whether or not bacteria are attracted to the surface. The relationship between adherence of Streptococcus mitis, S. mutans, S. oralis and S. sanguinis on precious and non-precious dental alloys, and the bacterial and alloy surface hydrophobicities (a measure of the surface free energy) was studied. The number of adhering bacteria was determined by fluorescence microscopy counts. The hydrophobicity of the bacteria and alloy surfaces were evaluated by adhesion to hexadecane and water contact angles, respectively. Our results showed that (i) the surfaces of the tested alloys were hydrophobic, (ii) S. sanguinis, S. mutans and S. oralis were hydrophobic, and (iii) S. mitis was hydrophilic. S. oralis, the more hydrophobic strain, demonstrated the highest adherence on the tested materials, whereas S. mitis adhered least on the hydrophobic surfaces. For the tested alloys, bacterial adherence was highest for the high gold content alloy, and lowest for the non-precious alloy. Our results showed that for the tested bacterial strains, there was a significant correlation between bacterial adhesion and substratum hydrophobicity: hydrophobic metal surfaces favor adhesion of hydrophobic bacteria.


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