Restor Dent Endod.  2014 Nov;39(4):288-295. 10.5395/rde.2014.39.4.288.

Synergistic effect of xylitol and ursolic acid combination on oral biofilms

  • 1Department of Conservative Dentistry, Yonsei University College of Dentistry, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Conservative Dentistry, Wonju Severance Christian Hospital, Yonsei University, Wonju, Korea.


This study was designed to evaluate the synergistic antibacterial effect of xylitol and ursolic acid (UA) against oral biofilms in vitro.
S. mutans UA 159 (wild type), S. mutans KCOM 1207, KCOM 1128 and S. sobrinus ATCC 33478 were used. The susceptibility of S. mutans to UA and xylitol was evaluated using a broth microdilution method. Based on the results, combined susceptibility was evaluated using optimal inhibitory combinations (OIC), optimal bactericidal combinations (OBC), and fractional inhibitory concentrations (FIC). The anti-biofilm activity of xylitol and UA on Streptococcus spp. was evaluated by growing cells in 24-well polystyrene microtiter plates for the biofilm assay. Significant mean differences among experimental groups were determined by Fisher's Least Significant Difference (p < 0.05).
The synergistic interactions between xylitol and UA were observed against all tested strains, showing the FICs < 1. The combined treatment of xylitol and UA inhibited the biofilm formation significantly and also prevented pH decline to critical value of 5.5 effectively. The biofilm disassembly was substantially influenced by different age of biofilm when exposed to the combined treatment of xylitol and UA. Comparing to the single strain, relatively higher concentration of xylitol and UA was needed for inhibiting and disassembling biofilm formed by a mixed culture of S. mutans 159 and S. sobrinus 33478.
This study demonstrated that xylitol and UA, synergistic inhibitors, can be a potential agent for enhancing the antimicrobial and anti-biofilm efficacy against S. mutans and S. sobrinus in the oral environment.


Biofilm; Streptococcus mutans; Streptococcus sobrinus; Ursolic acid; Xylitol
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