Wouldn’t it be great if you could maintain a white and bright smile without having to brush your teeth, getting a scale and polish at the dentist or visiting a dental hygienist? Well, nanoparticles may just do that. And they could be around sooner than you may think.
So, What Are Nanoparticles? And How Can They Help Your Teeth?
A nanoparticle is a tiny substance constructed of silica or calcium phosphate – materials naturally found in your teeth – as well as minerals and bacteria-fighting chemicals.
Researchers believe that, one day, nanoparticles will be injected into or painted onto teeth in order to help protect them from staining or damage. They could even regenerate your smile, making synthetic fillings a thing of the past.
So, how will they protect your teeth?
Well, by fighting dental plaque. Plaque is a biofilm consisting of 70% bacteria and 30% sugary polymers and proteins. If left for some time, it can cause gum infections like gingivitis, cavities in teeth and inflammation around teeth (periodontitis). In a research study published by the American Chemical Society, nanoparticles reduced the amount of this bacteria by up to 80%. This means that, in the future, teeth could remain whiter for longer as the pale yellow or brown hues of plaque and tartar are avoided completely.
When Will Nanoparticles Become Available?
Nanoparticles are not a new area of study. Dental researchers have been looking into similar inventions since the 70s and some claim there are already three ingredients within common toothpastes that could be made nanoparticle size. These are hydroxyapatite (cavity filler), silver (a bacteria killer) and titanium dioxide (whitener/light reflector).
However, only recently have nanoparticles started being used in practice, specifically to help diagnose teeth or gum infections.
Researchers say nanoparticles are ‘near’, but won’t hit the open market for years yet. Technical issues, such as restricting the tiny particles to the mouth, are preventing this development from becoming available to the masses.
Marco Salerno, Materials Scientist at the Italian Institute of Technology, has commented on the dental game-changer. He said:
“Thanks to the small size, they can circulate and accumulate in critical organs in the body, such as lungs or blood vessels or the brain, giving rise to cancer or fibrils triggering diseases like Alzheimer’s”
However, once these kinks have been straightened out (most likely by making the nanoparticles stick better), they could transform the dental health industry as we know it.
So, one day, could you visit the dentist less often, but benefit from healthier, stronger and whiter teeth? Maybe. Watch this space.
AUTHOR BIO Can’t wait for nanoparticles and want a whiter smile now? Then book your free consultation with The Smile Dentist, Dr Rob, today by calling 0333 577 7273. With more than 30 years in the dental care industry, your
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