Objective This study evaluated whether Quantitative Light-induced Fluorescence-Digital (QLF-D) can detect the levels of cariogenicity of dental microcosm biofilms by assessing the red fluorescence intensity. Methods Dental microcosm biofilms were initiated from human saliva on bovine enamel discs. Biofilms with various levels of cariogenicity were then grown in artificial saliva supplemented with sucrose at different concentrations (0.05%, 0.1%, 0.2%, and 0.5%) in 24-well microplates. After 10 days, fluorescence images of the biofilms were captured by the QLF-D to analyse the red fluorescence intensity, which was quantified as the red/green ratio (R/G value). The supernatant pH was also measured, as well as the total and aciduric bacteria counts of the collected biofilms. Mineral loss in enamel was also evaluated by calculating the percentage of surface microhardness changes (%SHC). Results The R/G values of the biofilms differed significantly with the sucrose concentration (p < 0.0001), increasing consistently as the sucrose concentration increased from 0.05% (=0.91) to 0.5% (=2.56). Strong correlation was identified between the R/G value and the number of aciduric bacteria (r = 0.83, p < 0.0001), supernatant pH (r = -0.95, p < 0.0001), and %SHC (r = 0.90, p < 0.0001). Conclusions The red fluorescence as observed by the QLF-D was correlated with the cariogenic properties of dental microcosm biofilms in vitro, which indicates that this device can be used to detect the levels of cariogenicity of a dental biofilm. Clinical significance The QLF-D is able to assess the cariogenic levels of dental plaque based on the intensity of red fluorescence.
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