Modelling oral malodour in a longitudinal study

Arch Oral Biol. 2003 Nov;48(11):737-43. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9969(03)00154-7.


The aim of this study was to develop an in vitro model of the tongue microflora in order to assess anti-malodour compounds before clinical evaluation. Biofilms, derived from the tongue microflora, were grown in a constant depth film fermentor (CDFF) with nutrients supplied in the form of mucin- and serum-containing artificial saliva. Differential agars and a halimeter were used to determine the bacterial microflora and production of volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs), respectively. The resulting biofilms had a bacterial population which contained, on average, 29% streptococci, 48% Gram-negative anaerobes and 2.5% with an H2S-producing phenotype. When the biofilms were pulsed with either chlorhexidine or zinc acetate there was a reduction in the number of H2S-producing bacteria, however these counts subsequently recovered as pulsing continued. The generation of VSCs was correlated to the viable counts of the H2S-producing bacteria. By pulsing with anti-malodour compounds over time we observed a reduction in the quantity of VSCs produced and a change in the composition of the plaque to one which contained fewer H2S-producing bacteria.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Chlorhexidine / pharmacology
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology
  • Halitosis / metabolism
  • Halitosis / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / metabolism
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods
  • Models, Biological*
  • Mouthwashes / pharmacology
  • Saliva, Artificial
  • Sulfur Compounds / metabolism
  • Tongue / microbiology*
  • Zinc Acetate / pharmacology


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Mouthwashes
  • Saliva, Artificial
  • Sulfur Compounds
  • Zinc Acetate
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Hydrogen Sulfide