INTRODUCTION: The acquired pellicle formation is the first step in dental biofilm formation. It distinguishes dental biofilms from other biofilm types. OBJECTIVE: To explore the influence of salivary pellicle formation before biofilm formation on enamel demineralization. METHODOLOGY: Saliva collection was approved by Indiana University IRB. Three donors provided wax-stimulated saliva as the microcosm bacterial inoculum source. Acquired pellicle was formed on bovine enamel samples. Two groups (0.5% and 1% sucrose-supplemented growth media) with three subgroups (surface conditioning using filtered/pasteurized saliva; filtered saliva; and deionized water (DIW)) were included (n=9/subgroup). Biofilm was then allowed to grow for 48 h using Brain Heart Infusion media supplemented with 5 g/l yeast extract, 1 mM CaCl2.2H2O, 5% vitamin K and hemin (v/v), and sucrose. Enamel samples were analyzed for Vickers surface microhardness change (VHNchange), and transverse microradiography measuring lesion depth (L) and mineral loss (∆Z). Data were analyzed using two-way ANOVA. RESULTS: The two-way interaction of sucrose concentration × surface conditioning was not significant for VHNchange (p=0.872), ∆Z (p=0.662) or L (p=0.436). Surface conditioning affected VHNchange (p=0.0079), while sucrose concentration impacted ∆Z (p<0.0001) and L (p<0.0001). Surface conditioning with filtered/pasteurized saliva resulted in the lowest VHNchange values for both sucrose concentrations. The differences between filtered/pasteurized subgroups and the two other surface conditionings were significant (filtered saliva p=0.006; DIW p=0.0075). Growing the biofilm in 1% sucrose resulted in lesions with higher ∆Z and L values when compared with 0.5% sucrose. The differences in ∆Z and L between sucrose concentration subgroups was significant, regardless of surface conditioning (both p<0.0001). CONCLUSION: Within the study limitations, surface conditioning using human saliva does not influence biofilm-mediated enamel caries lesion formation as measured by transverse microradiography, while differences were observed using surface microhardness, indicating a complex interaction between pellicle proteins and biofilm-mediated demineralization of the enamel surface.
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