INHIBITION STUDIES USING SAFFRON EXTRACT AGAINST STREPTOCOCCUS MUTANS
Geraldine Lerner, Poonam Gulati.
University of Houston-Downtown, Houston, TX.
The oral cavity is prone to dental and periodontal diseases caused by various bacteria residing in the mouth. One of the most common bacteria associated with dental plaque and tooth decay is Streptococcus mutans. This bacterium resides in organic biofilms and is the main causative agent of dental caries. Biofilms are communities of microbes attached to moist surfaces, such as teeth and gums, using extrapolymeric substances (EPS) that they synthesize. In previous studies, we have shown that mouthwashes containing cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) as their active agent are best able to kill S. mutans within biofilms. However, using natural inhibitors rather than harsh chemicals would be less harmful to the patient. Recently, we have shown that garlic, turmeric, and saffron extracts successfully inhibit Streptococcus mutans in biofilms. Saffron has shown a percent inhibition of up to 85 % and is the compound of interest in this study. The minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of the saffron extract required for killing S. mutans as well as its target and mechanism of action are being investigated.