Physiochemical assessment of the parasite-biomaterial interface is essential in the development of new biomaterials. The purpose of this study was to develop a method to evaluate pH at the bacteria-dental cement interface and to demonstrate physiochemical interaction at the interface. The experimental apparatus with a well (4.0 mm in diameter and 2.0 mm deep) was made of polymethyl methacrylate with dental cement or polymethyl methacrylate (control) at the bottom. Three representative dental cements (glass-ionomer, zinc phosphate, and zinc oxide-eugenol cements) were used. Each specimen was immersed in 2 mM potassium phosphate buffer for 10 min, 24 hrs, 1 wk, or 4 wks. The well was packed with Streptococcus mutans NCTC 10449, and a miniature pH electrode was placed at the interface between bacterial cells and dental cement. The pH was monitored after the addition of 1% glucose, and the fluoride contained in the cells was quantified. Glass-ionomer cement inhibited the bacteria-induced pH fall significantly compared with polymethyl methacrylate (control) at the interface (10 min, 5.16 ± 0.19 vs. 4.50 ± 0.07; 24 hrs, 5.20 ± 0.07 vs. 4.59 ± 0.11; 1 wk, 5.34 ± 0.14 vs. 4.57 ± 0.11; and 4 wks, 4.95 ± 0.27 vs. 4.40 ± 0.14), probably due to the fluoride released from the cement. This method could be useful for the assessment of pH at the parasite-biomaterial interface.
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