Removal of Interproximal Dental Biofilms by High-velocity Water Microdrops

J Dent Res. 2013 Oct 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Removal of Interproximal Dental Biofilms by High-velocity Water Microdrops.


nCATS, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment (FEE), University of Southampton, UK.


The influence of the impact of a high-velocity water microdrop on the detachment of Streptococcus mutans UA159 biofilms from the interproximal (IP) space of teeth in a training typodont was studied experimentally and computationally. Twelve-day-old S. mutans biofilms in the IP space were exposed to a prototype AirFloss delivering 115 µL water at a maximum exit velocity of 60 m/sec in a 30-msec burst. Using confocal microscopy and image analysis, we obtained quantitative measurements of the percentage removal of biofilms from different locations in the IP space. The 3D geometry of the typodont and the IP spaces was obtained by micro-computed tomography (µ-CT) imaging. We performed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to calculate the wall shear stress (τw) distribution caused by the drops on the tooth surface. A qualitative agreement and a quantitative relationship between experiments and simulations were achieved. The wall shear stress (τw) generated by the prototype AirFloss and its spatial distribution on the teeth surface played a key role in dictating the efficacy of biofilm removal in the IP space.

Keywords: Microbiology, Biofilm, Streptococcus mutans, dental plaque, interproximal cleaning, micro-computed tomography, microscopy, oral hygiene