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Nanoparticles Break Up Plaque and Prevent Tooth Decay

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have used nanoparticles approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to effectively disrupt biofilms and prevent tooth decay in both an experimental human-plaque-like biofilm and in an animal model that mimics early childhood caries. The nanoparticles break apart dental plaque through a unique pH-activated antibiofilm mechanism.

“It displays an intriguing enzyme-like property whereby the catalytic activity is dramatically enhanced at acidic pH but is ‘switched off’ at neutral pH conditions,” said Hyun (Michel) Koo, DDS, MS, PhD, a professor with the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Orthodontics and divisions of Pediatric Dentistry and Community Oral Health.

“The nanoparticles act as a peroxidase, activating hydrogen peroxide, a commonly used antiseptic, to generate free radicals that potently dismantle and kill biofilms in pathological acidic conditions but not at physiological pH, thus providing a targeted effect,” Koo said.


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