Incorporating copper into fluoride-containing bioactive glasses enhances the inhibition of Streptococcus mutans activity and biofilm formation

Xiaojing Chen, S Zou, Y Yan, H He, Robert Hill, Songling Wang, Xiaohui Chen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Although fluoride has proved to be beneficial and lead to a decline in the prevalence of caries worldwide, excess fluoride results in adverse effects. Low fluoride-containing bioactive glasses (FBGs) degrade and release controllable amount of F- with Ca2+ and PO43- forming more acid-resistant fluorapatite are attractive for tooth remineralization, however, showed limited antibacterial effect. Copper has a well-documented antimicrobial action which kills bacteria and viruses slows down growth of the microorganisms. The aim of this paper was therefore to investigate whether incorporating copper into low fluoride-containing bioactive glasses enhances the antibacterial properties of FBGs.

Copper-doped (0-5 mol%) low-fluoride (1 mol%) bioactive glasses FBGs (FCuBGs) were designed and synthesised by a melt-quench method. The effects of copper on glass structure, bioactivity, cytocompatibility and inhibitory performance against Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) were examined. The potential antibacterial mechanism of Cu-doped FBGs against S. mutans was evaluated and discussed for the first time.

The results revealed that copper does not bound directly to fluoride or orthophosphate, in contract might present as Si-O-Cu2+. Glasses with low copper content (≤ 2 mol%) were cytocompatible. All studied BGs exhibited high bioactivity and excellent inhibition of S. mutans activity (Fig.1) and biofilm formation. A strong positive correlation between copper content and antibacterial effect was found suggesting incorporating copper is a feasible way to enhance the antibacterial properties of FBGs.

Cu-doped FBGs are particularly attractive for dental applications, including fissure sealers, varnishes, and additives for caries prevention. Moreover, the comprehensive results obtained provide insight into the potential antibacterial mechanism of FCuBGs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
EventBioceramics 33: The 33rd conference and annual meeting of the International Society for Ceramics in Medicine (ISCM) - Solothurn, Switzerland, Solothurn, Switzerland
Duration: 17 Oct 202320 Oct 2023


ConferenceBioceramics 33
Internet address


  • Fluoride-containing bioactive glasses
  • antibacterial mechanism
  • dental caries


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