Extracellular DNA contributes to dental biofilm formation: An ex vivo study

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperConference abstract in journalResearchpeer-review

The extracellular matrix of dental biofilms plays an important role during caries development. It increases the mechanical stability of the biofilm, it prevents desiccation, it serves as a reservoir for nutrients and it contributes to the long-term preservation of acidic microenvironments. Research on the biofilm matrix in the field of dentistry has focused mainly on the synthesis, structure and function of extracellular polysaccharides. In recent years, studies conducted on biofilms from other habitats have shown that the presence of extracellular DNA contributes to biofilm formation and stability, and that the enzymatic removal of extracellular DNA might be used as a therapeutic approach to biofilm diseases. Here, we investigate the effect of treatment with DNase I (100 Kunitz) on in vivo grown young dental biofilms. A total of 300 biofilm samples were grown on glass slabs placed on acrylic splints for 2.5, 5, 7.5, 16.5 and 24 h and subsequently treated with DNase I or heat-inactivated DNase I for 1 h. Biovolumes were quantified by confocal microscopy and digital analysis of 16200 images. All samples taken together, DNase-treatment led to a strong reduction of the biofilm biovolume compared to negative control treatment, as determined by two-sample t-tests (p < 0.05). The effect decreased with biofilm age, with 94.2 %, 85.0 %, 52.0 %, 46.6 % and 15.8 % reduction for 2.5, 5, 7.5, 16.5 and 24 h biofilms, respectively. The treatment effect was independent from the intra-oral location of the biofilm. The present results make a strong case for an increased research focus on extracellular DNA in dental biofilms and might pave the way for new, non-bactericidal therapeutic approaches to caries control based on DNase treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalCaries Research
Pages (from-to)182
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventORCA - 63rd Annual Congress of the European Organisation for Caries Research - Megaron Athens International Conference Centre, Athen, Greece
Duration: 6 Jul 20169 Jul 2016


ConferenceORCA - 63rd Annual Congress of the European Organisation for Caries Research
LocationMegaron Athens International Conference Centre
Internet address

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 110029237