Here we describe an experimental study of the mechanical properties of bacterial biofilms formed from the early dental plaque colonizer Streptococcus mutans. The S. mutans biofilms demonstrated the behavior of rheological fluids, with properties similar to those of organic polymers and other biological fluids. The time-dependent response of the biofilms was modeled on the basis of principles of viscoelasticity theory. The static and dynamic responses were defined in terms of the creep compliance, storage and loss moduli, and viscosity. The creep compliance and stress relaxation functions of S. mutans biofilms were characterized using the Burger model. Implications for developing more effective mechanical removal strategies of dental plaque biofilms are discussed.
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