Use of β-caryophyllene to combat bacterial dental plaque formation in dogs

BMC Vet Res. 2016 Oct 1;12(1):216. doi: 10.1186/s12917-016-0842-1.


Background: Periodontal disease is a highly prevalent illness that affects many dogs, reaching up to 85 % prevalence in individuals over the age of 4 years. Currently the drug of choice for combating the formation of dental plaque in these animals, the etiologic agent of the disease, is chlorhexidine, which has several side effects reported. Thus, surveys are conducted throughout the world in order to identify potential substitutes for antimicrobial therapy and prevention of periodontal disease. The objective of the work was to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of β-caryophyllene against bacteria from dog's dental plaque in vitro and in vivo. The minimum inhibitory concentration was evaluated by agar microdilution assay, the induction or inhibition of bacterial adherence by sub-inhibitory concentrations in 96-well plates, and reduction of dental plaque formation in mongrel dogs subjected to topical solution with β-caryophyllene for 15 days.

Results: Results showed minimum inhibitory concentrations above 100 mg/mL for 25 % of the isolates, 100 mg/mL for 3 %, 50 mg/mL for 25 %, 25 mg/mL for 12 %, 12.5 mg/mL for 19 % and 6.25 mg/mL for 16 %. Bacterial adherences of three Enterococcus sp., one Streptococcus sp., one Haemophilus sp., one Aerococcus sp., one Bacillus sp. and one Lactococcus sp. isolates were inhibited by subinhibitory concentration. One Lactococcus sp., one Bacillus sp. and one Streptococcus sp. were stimulated to adhere by concentrations of 0.19, 1.56 and 0.78 mg/mL, respectively. In vivo assay showed reduction in dental plaque formation by β-caryophyllene, with final plaque coverage of 23.3 ± 2.6 % of the total area of the teeth, with significant difference compared with chlorhexidine group (37.5 ± 3.7 % - p < 0.05) and negative control group (65.5 ± 2.5 % - p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The results showed that β-caryophyllene has antimicrobial activity against the proliferation of dog's dental plaque-forming bacteria representing a suitable alternative to the use of chlorhexidine in prophylaxis and treatment of periodontal disease of dogs.

Keywords: Adhesion; Antimicrobial; Dental plaque; Dogs; Natural phytochemical.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects
  • Chlorhexidine / pharmacology
  • Dental Plaque / drug therapy
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control
  • Dental Plaque / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dog Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Periodontal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Periodontal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Periodontal Diseases / veterinary*
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • Random Allocation
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Sesquiterpenes / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • caryophyllene
  • Chlorhexidine