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Nanoparticles can be used to break up plaque and prevent cavities

Bacteria living in dental plaque contribute to tooth decay which is often resistant to traditional antimicrobial treatment. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took advantage of pH sensitive and enzyme like properties of iron containing nanoparticles to catalyze the activity of hydrogen peroxide. The activated hydrogen peroxide produced free radicals that were able to degrade the biofilm matrix associated with tooth decay and kill bacteria thus preventing plaque and reducing tooth decay. The researchers said that even a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide was effective at disrupting the biofilm. It was found that adding nanoparticles increased the efficiency of bacterial killing more than 5,000-fold. The work built off a seminal finding published in 2007  showing that nanoparticles, long believed to be biologically and chemically inert, could in fact possess enzyme-like properties. This study showed that an iron oxide nanoparticle behaved similarly to a […]

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