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J Periodontal Implant Sci. 2013 Apr;43(2):72-8. doi: 10.5051/jpis.2013.43.2.72. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Phototoxic effect of blue light on the planktonic and biofilm state of anaerobic periodontal pathogens.

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Department of Periodontology, Research Institute for Oral Science, Gangneung-Wonju National University College of Dentistry, Gangneung, Korea.



The purpose of this study was to compare the phototoxic effects of blue light exposure on periodontal pathogens in both planktonic and biofilm cultures.


Strains of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Fusobacterium nucleatum, and Porphyromonas gingivalis, in planktonic or biofilm states, were exposed to visible light at wavelengths of 400.520 nm. A quartz-tungsten-halogen lamp at a power density of 500 mW/cm(2) was used for the light source. Each sample was exposed to 15, 30, 60, 90, or 120 seconds of each bacterial strain in the planktonic or biofilm state. Confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM) was used to observe the distribution of live/dead bacterial cells in biofilms. After light exposure, the bacterial killing rates were calculated from colony forming unit (CFU) counts.


CLSM images that were obtained from biofilms showed a mixture of dead and live bacterial cells extending to a depth of 30-45 ┬Ám. Obvious differences in the live-to-dead bacterial cell ratio were found in P. gingivalis biofilm according to light exposure time. In the planktonic state, almost all bacteria were killed with 60 seconds of light exposure to F. nucleatum (99.1%) and with 15 seconds to P. gingivalis (100%). In the biofilm state, however, only the CFU of P. gingivalis demonstrated a decreasing tendency with increasing light exposure time, and there was a lower efficacy of phototoxicity to P. gingivalis as biofilm than in the planktonic state.


Blue light exposure using a dental halogen curing unit is effective in reducing periodontal pathogens in the planktonic state. It is recommended that an adjunctive exogenous photosensitizer be used and that pathogens be exposed to visible light for clinical antimicrobial periodontal therapy.


Biofilms; Dental curing lights

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