Physical-chemical interactions between dental materials surface, salivary pellicle and Streptococcus gordonii

Ting Sang, Zhou Ye, Nicholas G. Fischer, Erik P. Skoe, Constanza Echeverría, Jun Wu, Conrado Aparicio

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16 Scopus citations


Dental materials are susceptible to dental plaque formation, which increases the risk of biofilm-associated oral diseases. Physical-chemical properties of dental material surfaces can affect salivary pellicle formation and bacteria attachment, but relationships between these properties have been understudied. We aimed to assess the effects of surface properties and adsorbed salivary pellicle on Streptococcus gordonii adhesion to traditional dental materials. Adsorption of salivary pellicle from one donor on gold, stainless steel, alumina and zirconia was monitored with a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D). Surfaces were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy and water contact angles measurement before and after pellicle adsorption. Visualization and quantification of Live/Dead stained bacteria and scanning electron microscopy were used to study S. gordonii attachment to materials with and without pellicle. The work of adhesion between surfaces and bacteria was also determined. Adsorption kinetics and the final thickness of pellicle formed on the four materials were similar. Pellicle deposition on all materials increased surface hydrophilicity, surface energy and work of adhesion with bacteria. Surfaces with pellicle had significantly more attached bacteria than surfaces without pellicle, but the physical-chemical properties of the dental material did not significantly alter bacteria attachment. Our findings suggested that the critical factor increasing S. gordonii attachment was the salivary pellicle formed on dental materials. This is attributed to increased work of adhesion between bacteria and substrates with pellicle. New dental materials should be designed for controlling bacteria attachment by tuning thickness, composition and structure of the adsorbed salivary pellicle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110938
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge Dr. Ian Huxford, University of Minnesota, for helpful discussion on designing the QCM-D experiment and Dr. Bhaskar Valamakanni, 3M Oral Care, for providing access to the QCM-D equipment. CLSM imaging and analysis was performed at the University Imaging Centers, University of Minnesota. Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program. This work was supported by the Jiangxi Provincial Department of Science and Technology, China [grant number 20171BEI90008 to J.W.], [grant number 20192BBG70022 to T.S.]; Hundred People Voyage Project of Jiangxi Association for Science and Technology [grant number (2017) 91 to T.S.]; and 3M Gives [Key Opinion Leaders Scholarship to C.E]. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences [Translational Research Development Program-TRDP award to Z.Y. from grant UL1TR002494 ]. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.


  • Bacteria adhesion
  • Dental biomaterials
  • QCM-D
  • Surface energy
  • Work of adhesion


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