Effect of visible light on malodour production by mixed oral microflora

Nir Sterer, Osnat Feuerstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oral malodour is considered to be caused by the proteolytic activity of anaerobic Gram-negative oral bacteria. In a previous study, it was shown that these bacteria were susceptible to blue light (wavelengths of 400-500 nm). In this study, the effect of blue light on malodour production by mixed oral microflora was tested in a salivary incubation assay. Whole saliva samples were exposed to a xenon light source for 30, 60, 120 and 240 s, equivalent to fluences of 34, 68, 137 and 274 J cm-2, respectively. Malodour was scored by two judges. The levels of volatile sulfide compounds (VSC) were measured using a sulfide monitor (Halimeter), the microbial population was assessed using viable counts and microscopy, salivary protein degradation was followed by SDS-PAGE densitometry and VSC-producing bacteria were demonstrated using a differential agar. The results showed that the exposure of mixed salivary microflora to blue light caused a reduction in malodour production concomitant with a selective inhibitory effect on the population of Gram-negative oral bacteria. These results suggest that light exposure might have clinical applications for the treatment of oral malodour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1229
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


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