Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT) may be useful as a supportive antimicrobial measure for caries-active subjects. In this study, the antimicrobial efficacy of aPDT with a phenalen-1-one photosensitizer was evaluated in a novel in vitro biofilm model comprising Actinomyces naeslundii, Actinomyces odontolyticus, and Streptococcus mutans and was compared to chlorhexidine. The proposed biofilm model allows high-throughput screening for antimicrobial efficacy while exhibiting a differentiated response to different antimicrobial approaches. While chlorhexidine 0.2% showed a reduction of ≈4 log10 for all species, aPDT led to a more pronounced reduction of S. mutans (2.8 log10) than of Actinomyces spp. (1.2 or 1.3 log10). A similar effect was also observed in monospecies biofilms. Therefore, aPDT may be more effective against S. mutans than against Actinomyces spp. when in biofilms, and this antimicrobial approach merits further investigations.

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