Objective: To assess and compare the efficacy of 3% garlic extract, 0.2% tea tree oil, 0.2% chlorhexidine, 0.05% cetylpyridinium chloride, and ultravoilet (UV) toothbrush sanitizing device as toothbrush disinfectants against Streptococcus mutans.
Materials and methods: A double blind randomized controlled parallel study was done on 210 dental students. The subjects were divided into one control group using distilled water and five study groups representing 0.2% tea tree oil, 3% garlic extract, 0.2% chlorhexidine gluconate, 0.05% cetylpyridinium chloride and UV toothbrush sanitizing device. Participants were provided with new toothbrushes and toothpastes for both baseline and intervention phases. The toothbrushes were collected after two weeks for microbial analysis in both phases. The data were analysed and compared using appropriate statistical analysis.
Results: On comparing pre- and post-intervention, S. mutans colony counts, a highly significant (P < 0.001) difference was observed in all the groups. Differences of 77.74 colony forming units (CFU) in tea tree oil group, 102.87 CFU in garlic group, 68.13 CFU in chlorhexidine group, 82.47 CFU in cetylpyridinium group and 42.67 CFU in UV toothbrush sanitizer group were observed. Garlic group showed the highest reduction (100%) whereas UV toothbrush sanitizer group showed the least reduction (47.4%) in S. mutans colonies.
Conclusions: The antimicrobial agents used in this study effectively reduced the S. mutans counts and hence can be considered as toothbrush disinfectants to prevent dental caries. The 3% garlic was the most effective among the antimicrobial agents.
Keywords: Antimicrobial agents; S. mutans; chlorhexidine; garlic; toothbrush disinfection.