Antimicrobial effects of calcium hydroxide, chlorhexidine, and propolis on Enterococcus faecalis and Candida albicans

J Investig Clin Dent. 2014 Aug;5(3):194-200. doi: 10.1111/jicd.12041. Epub 2013 Apr 4.


Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of calcium hydroxide (Ca[OH]2 ), 2% chlorhexidine (CHX) gel, and propolis against both Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) and Candida albicans (C. albicans) using infected dentine models at two different depths (100 and 200 μm) after 14 days of application.

Methods: A total of 120 roots of extracted single-rooted human teeth were chemo-mechanically prepared and sterilized. Sixty roots were infected with E. faecalis, and the remaining 60 with C. albicans. Each group was divided into four subgroups (n = 15) to apply intracanal medicaments, namely saline solution (negative control), Ca(OH)2 , CHX, and propolis during the 14 days. Dentine shavings were collected and cultivated. Colony-forming units (c.f.u.) were registered. Statistical analysis was done using the Kruskal-Wallis test, followed by Dunn's/Bonferroni multiple comparison test (P < 0.05).

Results: All experimental agents significantly reduced E. faecalis c.f.u. There was no significant difference between CHX and propolis reducing E. faecalis c.f.u. at 100 and 200 μm. Only CHX had a statistically-significant antifungal efficacy in the C. albicans group at the two depths assessed. CHX was the most potent medicament against both E. faecalis and C. albicans, and Ca(OH)2 was the least.

Conclusion: Both CHX and propolis were the most effective against E. faecalis, whereas only CHX had the highest antifungal activity on C. albicans in dentine of extracted teeth.

Keywords: Candida albicans; Enterococcus faecalis; calcium hydroxide; chlorhexidine; propolis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Load / drug effects
  • Calcium Hydroxide / pharmacology*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Chlorhexidine / pharmacology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Dental Pulp Cavity / microbiology
  • Dental Pulp Cavity / ultrastructure
  • Dentin / drug effects
  • Dentin / microbiology
  • Enterococcus faecalis / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing
  • Propolis / pharmacology*
  • Root Canal Irrigants / pharmacology*
  • Root Canal Preparation / methods


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Root Canal Irrigants
  • Propolis
  • Calcium Hydroxide
  • Chlorhexidine