Some bacteria in the mouth help digest food or control other
microbes’ bioactivity, while some stick to teeth and produce acids that corrode
tooth enamel, leading to cavities. But fighting back with products to stop the
formation of plaque, infections, and tooth decay may kill even the good types
of oral bacteria. University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) researcher Dr.
Russell Pesavento seems to have found an alternative to keeping oral bacteria
in check that would do significantly less harm than good.
Pesavento and his research group turned to cerium oxide nanoparticles to inhibit biofilm formation. The properties and behaviour of these nanoparticles depend, at least partially, on h w they’re prepared. Unlike previous attempts, his team produced their nanoparticles by dissolving ceric ammonium nitrate or sulfate salts in water (other researchers had previously made the particles this way but hadn’t tested their effects on biofilms).
The UIC researchers saw that a solution of cerium oxide
nanoparticles reduced biofilm growth by 40% compared to plates without the
nanoparticles, though they weren’t able to dislodge existing biofilms. Silver
nitrate, which is a known anti-cavity agent used by dentists, also showed no
substantial effect on biofilm growth. However, the nanoparticles’ toxicity and
metabolic effects in human oral cells in petri dishes were less than those of
Pesavento explained that their use of nanoparticles merely prevented microbes from sticking to polystyrene surfaces and forming adherent biofilms – with this new information, Pesavento would like to try to combine the nanoparticles with enamel-strengthening fluoride in a formulation that dentists could paint on a patient’s teeth to treat cavities and stop tooth decay.
Category: Features, Wellness and Complementary Therapies