Streptococcus mutans triggers dental caries establishment by two major factors: synthesis of organic acids, which demineralize dental enamel, and synthesis of glucans, which mediate the attachment of bacteria to the tooth surface. Propolis is a natural product that may prevent dental caries. Baccharis dracunculifolia DC (Asteraceae), a native plant from Brazil, is the most important botanical origin for the production of green propolis (Brazilian propolis) by honeybees. However, whether B. dracunculifolia (Bd) has an anticariogenic effect, like green propolis, remains unknown. Herein, we have made a comparative evaluation of the effects of extracts from green propolis and Bd on the glucan synthesis and acidogenic potential of S. mutans. The inhibitory effects of the extracts on bacterial acid production were evaluated through the potentiometric measurement of pH from bacterial suspensions treated with serial concentrations of both extracts. Besides presenting close inhibitory values at the same concentration range, Bd leaf rinse and green propolis extracts had similar IC50 values (0.41 and 0.34 mg/ml, respectively). Both extracts produced a bacteriostatic effect on S. mutans cultures at a concentration of 0.40 mg/ml. Estimated inhibitory values of green propolis and Bd leaf rinse extracts on the synthesis of insoluble glucans (IC50=12.9 and 25.0 μg/ml, respectively) and soluble glucans (IC50=50.4 and 49.1 μg/ml, respectively) were not significantly different from each other at p<0.05. The results demonstrate that Bd leaf rinse and green propolis extracts have similar inhibitory effects on the S. mutans cariogenic factors evaluated herein, and allowed us to suggest that Bd leaves may be a potential source for pharmaceutical products employed for this purpose.
2004 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan