Can Graphene Be Used to Treat Gum Disease and Fight Cavities?

When bacteria invade the mouth dental disease can form. This can lead to tooth decay or gum disease. Traditionally, antibiotics are prescribed to kill the bacteria if it is found. However, antibiotic resistance has been an issue in recent years where the antibiotics no longer work as effectively to kill the bacteria.

Thus new methods to eliminate bacteria are need. Scientists have discovered a material called graphene oxide is effective at eliminating this type of bacteria even if it has developed antibiotic resistance.  Previous studies have shown that graphene oxide which are carbon nanosheets studded with oxygen groups, is a promising material in biomedical applications. Graphene oxide can inhibit the growth of some bacterial strains with minimal harm to mammalian cells.

Researchers were interested to see if graphene oxide is effective at elminating bacteria responsible for dental disease. They tested the material against three different species of bacteria that are linked to tooth decay and gum disease. Graphene oxide destroyed the bacterial cell walls and membranes and slowed the growth of the pathogens. Hence the researchers feel that Graphene could be used in dental care and treatment.


Jianliang He and et. al. Killing Dental Pathogens Using Antibacterial Graphene Oxide. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, issue 7, vol. 9, pp. 5605, 2015.

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