Bioactive low-shrinkage-stress nanocomposite suppresses S. mutans biofilm and preserves tooth dentin hardness

Ghalia Bhadila, Hanan Filemban, Xiaohong Wang, Mary Ann S. Melo, Dwayne D. Arola, Franklin R. Tay, Thomas W. Oates, Michael D. Weir, Jirun Sun, Hockin H.K. Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Recurrent dental caries is one of the main reasons for resin composite restoration failures. This study aimed to: (1) develop a bioactive, low-shrinkage-stress, antibacterial and remineralizing composite and evaluate the sustainability of its antibacterial effect against Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) biofilms; and (2) evaluate the remineralization and cariostatic potential of the composite containing nanoparticles of amorphous calcium phosphate (NACP) and dimethylaminohexadecyl methacrylate (DMAHDM), using dentin hardness measurement and a biofilm-induced recurrent caries model. The antibacterial and remineralizing low-shrinkage-stress composite consisted of urethane dimethacrylate (UDMA) and triethylene glycol divinylbenzyl ether (TEG-DVBE), 3% DMAHDM and 20% NACP. S. mutans biofilm was used to evaluate antibiofilm activity, before and after 3 months of composite aging in acidic solution. Human dentin was used to develop a recurrent caries biofilm-model. Adding DMAHDM and NACP into low shrinkage-stress composite did not compromise the flexural strength. The low-shrinkage-stress composite with DMAHDM achieved substantial reductions in biofilm colony-forming units (CFU), lactic acid production, and biofilm biomass (p < 0.05). The low-shrinkage-stress DMAHDM+NACP composite exhibited no significant difference in antibacterial performance before and after 3 months of aging, demonstrating long-term antibacterial activity. Under S. mutans biofilm acidic attack, dentin hardness (GPa) was 0.24 ± 0.04 for commercial control, and 0.23 ± 0.03 for experimental control, but significantly higher at 0.34 ± 0.03 for DMAHDM+NACP group (p < 0.05). At an instrumental compliance of 0.33 μm/N, the polymerization shrinkage stress of the new composite was 36% lower than that of a traditional composite (p < 0.05). The triple strategy of antibacterial, remineralization and lower shrinkage-stress has great potential to inhibit recurrent caries and increase restoration longevity. Statement of Significance Polymerization shrinkage stress, masticatory load over time as well as biochemical degradation can lead to marginal failure and secondary caries. The present study developed a new low-shrinkage-stress, antibacterial and remineralizing dental nanocomposite. Polymerization shrinkage stress was greatly reduced, biofilm acid production was inhibited, and tooth dentin mineral and hardness were preserved. The antibacterial composite possessed a long-lasting antibiofilm effect against cariogenic bacteria S. mutans. The new bioactive nanocomposite has the potential to suppress recurrent caries at the restoration margins, protects tooth structures, and increases restoration longevity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-157
Number of pages12
JournalActa biomaterialia
StatePublished - Sep 15 2020


  • Bioactive nanocomposite
  • Calcium phosphate nanoparticles
  • Dental caries
  • Dentin hardness
  • Low polymerization stress
  • Oral biofilm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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