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Tooth-binding particles may protect against decay

Tooth-binding particles may provide long-term decay protection by adhering to tooth surfaces and gradually releasing antimicrobial agents, say researchers in a study published in a recent issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, and the University of Florida, Gainesville, designed a drug delivery platform that would bind to tooth surfaces. This delivery platform involved tooth-binding molecular particles encapsulated with an antimicrobial agent that has been found to be effective against a particular strain of Streptococcus mutans.

Streptococcus mutans is the leading cause of tooth decay worldwide. The bacterium produces plaque and acids which, when combined, break down tooth enamel and cause decay.

When the research team tested the particles on a model tooth surface, they found that they were able to bind swiftly to the tooth model surface and gradually release the encapsulated antimicrobial agent.

In addition, the results of further studies of the particles conducted by the researchers showed that they were able to inhibit the targeted strain of S. mutans at higher levels than did untreated control particles.

"It is anticipated that the tooth-binding micelles have the potential to be formulated into mouth rinses that may have the merits of simple application, cultural acceptance and improved patient compliance," say the researchers.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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