AIM: To investigate the antimicrobial activity of 2.5% and 5.25% sodium hypochlorite and 2.0% chlorhexidine gel and liquid as endodontic-irrigating substances against selected single-species biofilms.
METHODS: Single-species biofilms of Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, Prevotella intermedia, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Porphyromonas endodontalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum were generated on a cellulose nitrate membrane placed on agar medium. The biofilms were then immersed in the endodontic-irrigating substances for 30 s and also for 5, 10, 15, 30 and 60 min, with and without mechanical agitation. Sterile saline was used as control. After each time period, the membrane filters were then transferred to tubes containing 2 mL of fresh broth medium plus neutralizers (in order to prevent the residual action of the tested substances). The micro-organisms were suspended using a vortex, and the inoculum was serially diluted 10-fold. Aliquots of the dilutions were plated on 5% sheep blood agar medium, and incubated under adequate gaseous conditions. Colony-forming units were calculated. The samples were compared using the Friedman and Tukey test, when necessary, at a significance level of P < 0.05.
RESULTS: Mechanical agitation promoted the effectiveness of the antimicrobial agents, resulting in less time to eliminate the same micro-organisms, except for S. aureus with 2.5% NaOCl. Antimicrobial agents in liquid presentation, especially 5.25% NaOCl and 2% chlorhexidine, killed the tested micro-organisms more rapidly. Saline did not inhibit the growth of any of the tested micro-organisms, with or without agitation, being statistically different (P < 0.05) from NaOCl and chlorhexidine. P. intermedia, P. gingivalis, P. endodontalis and F. nucleatum were eliminated in 30 s by all antimicrobial agents, with our without agitation, in contrast with the facultative and aerobe strains.
CONCLUSIONS: Mechanical agitation improved the antimicrobial properties of the chemical substances tested using a biofilm model, favouring the agents in liquid presentation, especially 5.25% NaOCl and 2% chlorhexidine.
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