A Combination of Zinc and Arginine Disrupt the Mechanical Integrity of Dental Biofilms


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American Society for Microbiology


Mechanical cleaning remains the standard of care for maintaining oral hygiene. However, mechanical cleaning is often augmented with active therapeutics that further promote oral health. A dentifrice, consisting of the "Dual Zinc plus Arginine" (DZA) technology, was found to be effective at controlling bacteria using in vitro laboratory studies, translating to clinical efficacy to deliver plaque and gingivitis reduction benefits. Here, we used biophysical analyses and confocal laser scanning microscopy to understand how a DZA dentifrice impacted the mechanical properties of dental plaque biofilms and determine if changes to biofilm rheology enhanced the removal of dental plaque. Using both uniaxial mechanical indentation and an adapted rotating-disc rheometry assay, it was found that DZA treatment compromised biofilm mechanical integrity, resulting in the biofilm being more susceptible to removal by shear forces compared to treatment with either arginine or zinc alone. Confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that DZA treatment reduced the amount of extracellular polymeric slime within the biofilm, likely accounting for the reduced mechanical properties. We propose a model where arginine facilitates the entry of zinc into the biofilm, resulting in additive effects of the two activities toward dental plaque biofilms. Together, our results support the use of a dentifrice containing Dual Zinc plus Arginine as part of daily oral hygiene regimens.

IMPORTANCE Mechanical removal of dental plaque is augmented with therapeutic compounds to promote oral health. A dentifrice containing the ingredients zinc and arginine has shown efficacy at reducing dental plaque both in vitro and in vivo. However, how these active compounds interact together to facilitate dental plaque removal is unclear. Here, we used a combination of biophysical analyses and microscopy to demonstrate that combined treatment with zinc and arginine targets the matrix of dental plaque biofilms, which destabilized the mechanical integrity of these microbial communities, making them more susceptible to removal by shear forces.



Biofilm removal, Biophysical properties, Dentifrice, Mechanics, Oral biofilm, Viscoelasticity, Dental/Oral and Craniofacial Disease, Bioengineering, Infectious Diseases, 5.1 Pharmaceuticals, 5 Development of treatments and therapeutic interventions