Improved Anti-Biofilm Effect against the Oral Cariogenic Streptococcus mutans by Combined Triclosan/CBD Treatment

Maayan Avraham, Doron Steinberg, Tamar Barak, Miriam Shalish, Mark Feldman, Ronit Vogt Sionov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Streptococcus mutans is a Gram-positive bacterium highly associated with dental caries, and it has a strong biofilm-forming ability, especially in a sugar-rich environment. Many strategies have been undertaken to prevent dental caries by targeting these bacteria. Recently, we observed that a sustained-release varnish containing triclosan and cannabidiol (CBD) was more efficient than each compound alone in preventing biofilm formation by the fungus Candida albicans, which is frequently involved in oral infections together with S. mutans. It was therefore inquiring to study the effect of this drug combination on S. mutans. We observed that the combined treatment of triclosan and CBD had stronger anti-bacterial and anti-biofilm activity than each compound alone, thus enabling the use of lower concentrations of each drug to achieve the desired effect. The combined drug treatment led to an increase in the SYTO 9low, propidium iodide (PI)high bacterial population as analyzed by flow cytometry, indicative for bacteria with disrupted membrane. Both triclosan and CBD induced membrane hyperpolarization, although there was no additive effect on this parameter. HR-SEM images of CBD-treated bacteria show the appearance of elongated and swollen bacteria with several irregular septa structures, and upon combined treatment with triclosan, the bacteria took on a swollen ellipse and sometimes oval morphology. Increased biofilm formation was observed at sub-MIC concentrations of each compound alone, while combining the drugs at these sub-MIC concentrations, the biofilm formation was prevented. The inhibition of biofilm formation was confirmed by CV biomass staining, MTT metabolic activity, HR-SEM and live/dead together with exopolysaccharide (EPS) staining visualized by spinning disk confocal microscopy. Importantly, the concentrations required for the anti-bacterial and anti-biofilm activities toward S. mutans were non-toxic to the normal Vero epithelial cells. In conclusion, the data obtained in this study propose a beneficial role of combined triclosan/CBD treatment for potential protection against dental caries.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number521
Issue number2
StatePublished - 10 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • Streptococcus mutans
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-biofilm
  • cannabidiol
  • dental caries
  • triclosan


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