Background: Repeated endodontic failures are due to pathogens like Enterococcus faecalis and Candida albicans which are resistant to the common intracanal medicaments like calcium hydroxide (Ca[OH]2).
Aims: To determine the role of commonly used folk medicine, Spilanthes acmella (SPA) against root canal pathogens like E. faecalis, C. albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus sp, and to compare its efficacy with Ca(OH)2, a popularly used intracanal medicament.
Materials and methods: Bacterial strains of S. aureus, Streptococcus sp., E. faecalis, and fungal strains of C. albicans were tested against different concentrations of SPA and Ca(OH)2. Seven days old cultures of test organisms were seeded onto agar plates and uniformly spread with a spreader. Five to six wells (8 mm) were made on agar plate to which different concentrations of the test solutions were added. The inoculated plates were kept in an incubator at 37°C for 48 h and inhibition zones were measured.
Statistical analysis: Results of SPA were compared with results of Ca(OH)2 statistically using Mann-Whitney U test.
Results: A significant zone of inhibition was obtained with SPA and was found to increase as the concentration increased for C. albicans. SPA showed a significant zone of inhibition at 2-5% and 10% whereas Ca(OH)2 showed a zone of inhibition only at 10% for E. faecalis. SPA showed a zone of inhibition only at 10%, whereas, Ca(OH)2 showed a significant zone of inhibition at 5% and 10% for S. aureus and Streptococcus sp., respectively.
Conclusion: SPA possesses remarkable antibacterial and antifungal activity against common root canal pathogens which are responsible for repeated endodontic failures such as E. faecalis and C. albicans when compared with medicaments like Ca(OH)2.