Effects of hydrogen peroxide on dental unit biofilms and treatment water contamination. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: To study effects of various concentrations of hydrogen peroxide on mature waterline biofilms and in controlling planktonic (free-floating) organisms in simulated dental treatment water systems; and to study in vitro the effects of 2%, 3%, and 7% hydrogen peroxide on the removal of mature biofilms and inorganic compounds in dental waterlines. METHODS: Four units of an automated dental unit water system simulation device was used for 12 weeks. All units were initially cleaned to control biofilms and inorganic deposits. H2O(2) at concentrations of 1%, 2%, 3% was used weekly for periodic cleaning in three treatment group units (units 1, 2 & 3), with 0.05%, 0.15% and 0.25% H(2)O(2) in municipal water used as irrigant respectively. The control unit (unit 4) did not have weekly cleanings and used municipal water as irrigant. Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy were used to study deposits on lines, and weekly heterotrophic plate counts done to study effluent water contamination. A 24 hour in vitro challenge test with 7%, 3% and 2% H(2)O(2) on mature biofilms was conducted using harvested waterlines to study biofilm and inorganic deposit removal. RESULTS: Heterotrophic plate counts of effluent water showed that the control unit reached contamination levels in excess of 400,000 CFU/mL while all treatment units showed contamination levels <500 CFU/mL through most of the 12 weeks. All treatment units showed varying levels of biofilm and inorganic deposit control in this short 12 week study. The in vitro challenge test showed although there was biofilm control, there was no eradication even when 7% H(2)O(2) was used for 24 hours. CONCLUSIONS: 2% H(2)O(2) used as a periodic cleaner, and diluted to 0.05% in municipal water for irrigation was beneficial in controlling biofilm and planktonic contamination in dental unit water systems. However, to remove well established biofilms, it may take more than 2 months when initial and multiple periodic cleanings are performed using H(2)O(2).

published proceedings

  • Eur J Dent

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Lin, S., Svoboda, K., Giletto, A., Seibert, J., & Puttaiah, R.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Lin, Shih-Ming||Svoboda, Kathy KH||Giletto, Anthony||Seibert, Jeff||Puttaiah, Raghunath

publication date

  • January 2011