As lactobacilli possess an antagonistic growth property, these bacteria may be beneficial as bioprotective agents for infection control. However, whether the antagonistic growth effects are attributed to the lactobacilli themselves or their fermentative broth remains unclear. The antagonistic growth effects of Lactobacillus salivarius and Lactobacillus fermentum as well as their fermentative broth were thus tested using both disc agar diffusion test and broth dilution method, and their effects on periodontal pathogens, including Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sanguis, and Porphyromonas gingivalis in vitro at different concentrations and for different time periods were also compared. Both Lactobacillus salivarius and Lactobacillus fermentum and their concentrated fermentative broth were shown to inhibit significantly the growth of Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sanguis, and Porphyromonas gingivalis, although different inhibitory effects were observed for different pathogens. The higher the counts of lactobacilli and the higher the folds of concentrated fermentative broth, the stronger the inhibitory effects are observed. The inhibitory effect is demonstrated to be dose-dependent. Moreover, for the lactobacilli themselves, Lactobacillus fermentum showed stronger inhibitory effects than Lactobacillus salivarius. However, the fermentative broth of Lactobacillus fermentum showed weaker inhibitory effects than that of Lactobacillus salivarius. These data suggested that lactobacilli and their fermentative broth exhibit antagonistic growth activity, and consumption of probiotics or their broth containing lactobacilli may benefit oral health.
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