Objectives: Glass-ionomer cements (GICs) are known to have inhibitory effects on bacterial growth, but the biochemical mechanism of this property has not been fully understood. This study aimed to evaluate inhibitory effects of GIC on the acid production of caries-related oral streptococci, and to identify the components responsible for the inhibition. Methods: An eluate was prepared by immersing set GIC in phosphate-buffered saline at 37 °C for 24 h. Fluoride and other elements in the eluate were quantified by fluoride ion electrode and atomic absorption photometry, respectively. Streptococcus mutans NCTC 10449 and Streptococcus sanguinis NCTC 10556 were used to evaluate the pH fall and the rate of acid production after the addition of glucose in the presence or absence of the eluate. Acidic end products from glucose were also assayed by carboxylic acid analyzer. Results: The eluate contained silicon (1.24 ± 0.26 mM), fluoride (0.49 ± 0.02 mM) and aluminum (0.06 ± 0.00 mM), and inhibited the pH fall and the acid production rate of both streptococci at acidic pH, with a concomitant decrease in lactic acid production. These effects were comparable to those of a potassium fluoride solution containing the same concentration of fluoride as the eluate. Significance: These results indicate that the GIC eluate inhibits the acid production of caries-related oral streptococci at acidic pH and that the effect is due to fluoride derived from the GIC. Thus, adjacent to GIC fillings, bacterial acid production and the subsequent bacterial growth may decrease, establishing a cariostatic environment.
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