The relationship between the amount of hydroxyl radicals generated by photolysis of H2O2 and bactericidal activity was examined. H2O2 (1 M) was irradiated with laser light at a wavelength of 405 nm to generate hydroxyl radicals. Electron spin resonance spin trapping analysis showed that the amount of hydroxyl radicals produced increased with the irradiation time. Four species of pathogenic oral bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Streptococcus mutans, and Enterococcus faecalis, were used in the bactericidal assay. S. mutans in a model biofilm was also examined. Laser irradiation of suspensions in 1 M H2O2 resulted in a >99.99% reduction of the viable counts of each of the test species within 3 min of treatment. Treatment of S. mutans in a biofilm resulted in a >99.999% reduction of viable counts within 3 min. Other results demonstrated that the bactericidal activity was dependent on the amount of hydroxyl radicals generated. Treatment of bacteria with 200 to 300 μM hydroxyl radicals would result in reductions of viable counts of >99.99%.
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