Biofilm formation and release of fluoride from dental restorative materials in relation to their surface properties

Sebastian Hahnel, Andrei C. Ionescu, Gloria Cazzaniga, Marco Ottobelli, Eugenio Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To elucidate the impact of surface properties and the release of fluoride from different glass ionomer cements on biofilm formation. Methods: Standardized specimens manufactured from various classes of glass ionomer cements (GICs), a resin-based composite (RBC), and human enamel were subjected to surface analyses. Subsequent to simulation of salivary pellicle formation, Streptococcus mutans biofilm formation was initiated using a drip flow reactor for 48. h and 96. h. Biofilms were characterized by determining viable bacterial biomass and 3D biofilm architecture using SEM and CLSM; the release of fluoride from the specimens was measured using the ion selective micro method in dependence on various experimental conditions (incubation with sterile broth/bacteria/acid). Results: Surface properties and biofilm formation correlated poorly, while the release of fluoride correlated well with viable streptococcal biomass and SEM/CLSM analyses. For all investigated materials, biofilm formation was lower than on enamel. The release of fluoride showed a significant dependency on the experimental conditions applied; the presence of biofilms reduced fluoride release in comparison to sterile incubation conditions. Conclusions: Within the limitations of a laboratory study, the results suggest that biofilm formation on GICs cannot be easily predicted as a function of substratum surface parameters. The release of fluoride from glass ionomer cements contributes to control biofilm formation particularly in its early phases. Clinical significance: Glass ionomer cements can actively control microbial biofilm formation, while biofilms modulate the release of fluoride from GIC materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dentistry
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Biofilm
  • Fluoride
  • Glass ionomer cement
  • Resin composite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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