Can acid produced from probiotic bacteria alter the surface roughness, microhardness, and elemental composition of enamel? An in vitro study

Swagata Saha, Aditi Chopra, Shobha Ullas Kamath, Namita N. Kashyap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Probiotics are live microorganisms that upon administration in adequate amounts provide various health benefits to the host. Probiotics are “lactic acid-producing bacteria” as they release large amounts of organic acids, particularly lactic acids, in their surrounding environment. Although the acids produced by probiotics are beneficial for gastrointestinal and vaginal health, the acidogenic nature of probiotics has raised concerns among dental professionals, especially concerning their effect on the enamel and dentin. Previous studies have found that probiotics can lower the pH of the saliva and cause essential elements like Calcium and Phosphorus to leach from the enamel. This can alter the surface topography of enamel and increase the risk of enamel defects. Studies have also noted that probiotic bacteria can replace cariogenic bacteria and lower the risk of tooth decay. However, the effect of acid produced by probiotics on the enamel surface remains unclear. Hence, the present study aims to evaluate the effect of probiotics on the surface roughness, microhardness, and elemental composition of enamel compared to 0.1 M Lactic acid (demineralizing agent). Twenty enamel sections were randomly divided into groups and subjected to a pH cycling model using a probiotic suspension and 0.1 M lactic acid. The changes in the surface roughness, microhardness, surface morphology, and elemental composition of the enamel with regard to Carbon, Oxygen, Sodium, Hydrogen, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Fluoride, Chlorine, and Calcium of the enamel were evaluated before and after the emersion in both the groups. The results showed a significant increase in the mean surface roughness in the probiotic group before and after the exposure. The microhardness of the enamel decreased along with altered arrangement of the enamel prisms, increased striations, scratch marks, and pitting after exposure to the probiotic group. A decrease in the atomic/weight% for Calcium, Phosphorous, Fluoride, Aluminium, and Oxygen and an increase in the weight/atomic% for Carbon, Nitrogen, and Sodium were noted compared to the baseline in the probiotic solution. The results in the probiotic group were comparable to the 0.1 M lactic acids. The pH changed from 5.78 to 3.06 at the end of 24 h in the probiotic group. Based on these findings, we conclude that exposure to probiotics can affect microhardness and surface roughness and cause leaching of essential elements like Calcium and Phosphorous from the enamel.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dentistry(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Can acid produced from probiotic bacteria alter the surface roughness, microhardness, and elemental composition of enamel? An in vitro study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this