Nanoparticle Coating Could Stop Plaque Forming On Teeth
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A coating made from metallic nanoparticles could help prevent cavities from forming by stopping plaque from developing on the teeth, suggests research from the University of Illinois. An almost half the adult global population has tooth decay or fillings as a result of decay. The, figures range from 16-32% depending on age, with children and young people having lower levels of tooth decay than older people.

While there are treatments that can be painted on teeth to stop or prevent decay, they often have drawbacks. For example, silver diamine fluoride can be painted on to teeth to stop decay, but it is used sparingly by dentists as it can stain teeth black. Stannous fluoride treatment is also used, but its main role is to kill bacteria indiscriminately, which is not ideal and can promote antimicrobial resistance.

Use of the treatment reduced colony formation of the ‘bad’ bacteria Streptococcus mutans, which can form plaque on teeth, by 40% compared with no treatment. Notably, use of silver nitrate – which is used to counter tooth decay — under the same conditions did not inhibit biofilm formation. The treatment is made up of nanoparticles of the soft metal cerium, which can mimic some of the qualities of calcium. Pesavento, who has a patent for the treatment formulation, hopes it can be combined with fluoride in the future and painted on to teeth to protect them from decay. Most of the by-products of cerium are white or clear, so it seems likely that it won’t have the same issue with staining as silver-based treatments.