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Objective: The effects of probiotics on cariogenic biofilms remain controversial. Our aim was to characterise two probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri strains, ATCC PTA 5289 and ATCC 55730 from a cariogenic standpoint in vitro. These strains are used in commercial products designed for oral health purposes.

Design: The adhesion and biofilm formation were studied on saliva-coated hydroxyapatite. The effects of glucose or sucrose on the biofilm formation were also tested. Arginine metabolism was assessed by measuring the pH in the presence of glucose and arginine. The degradation of hydroxyapatite was measured in three different growth media. Streptococcus mutans strains Ingbritt and MT 8148 were used as positive controls for bacterial adhesion and degradation of hydroxyapatite.

Results: Strain ATCC PTA 5289 adhered on saliva-coated hydroxyapatite and formed detectable biofilm, but strain ATCC 55730 was poor in both adhesion and biofilm formation. Both strains were arginolytic and raised the pH in the presence of arginine. The amount of dissolved calcium from hydroxyapatite correlated with bacterial growth rate and the final pH of the growth medium.

Conclusion: L. reuteri strains ATCC PTA 5289 and ATCC 55730 differed in their adhesion, biofilm formation and arginine metabolism in vitro. Thus, these probiotic lactobacilli are likely to differ in their behaviour and cariogenic potential also in an oral environment.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC PTA 5289Decreased Hydroxyapatite IntegrityHarmful
Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC PTA 5289Improved Arginine MetabolismBeneficial
Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC PTA 5289Increased Biofilm FormationNeutral
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