Endodontic infections are polymicrobial infections resulting in bone destruction and tooth loss. The host response to these infections is complex, including both innate and adaptive mechanisms. Osteopontin (OPN), a secreted, integrin-binding protein, functions in the regulation of immune responses and enhancement of leucocyte migration. We have assessed the role of OPN in the host response to endodontic infection using a well-characterized mouse model. Periapical bone loss associated with endodontic infection was significantly more severe in OPN-deficient mice compared with wild-type 3 weeks after infection, and was associated with increased areas of inflammation. Expression of cytokines associated with bone loss, interleukin-1α (IL-1α) and RANKL, was increased 3 days after infection. There was little effect of OPN deficiency on the adaptive immune response to these infections, as there was no effect of genotype on the ratio of bacteria-specific immunoglobulin G1 and G2a in the serum of infected mice. Furthermore, there was no difference in the expression of cytokines associated with T helper type 1/type2 balance: IL-12, IL-10 and interferon-γ. In infected tissues, neutrophil infiltration into the lesion area was slightly increased in OPN-deficient animals 3 days after infection: this was confirmed by a significant increase in expression of neutrophil elastase in OPN-deficient samples at this time-point. We conclude that OPN has a protective effect on polymicrobial infection, at least partially because of alterations in phagocyte recruitment and/or persistence at the sites of infection, and that this molecule has a potential therapeutic role in polymicrobial infections.