A new way of polishing teeth using silica nanoparticles could help promote dental health by warding off cavities.
Researchers at Clarkson University Center for Advanced Materials Processing began with a technology currently used in the semiconductor industry, then adapted it for dental care.
As part of the treatment, a dentist would polish teeth with the nanoparticles until they are extremely smooth.
In this way, the teeth surfaces become so "slippery" that bacteria is not able to attach to them and can be easily cleaned away, according to lead researcher Professor Igor Sokolov.
He explained that silica particles have previously been used in dental care procedures for polishing teeth, but this is the first study to specifically use nanoparticles.
Cavities can arise when you eat or drink foods containing sugars or starches without cleaning your teeth, which leads to plaque build-up. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel, resulting in a cavity.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day, flossing daily and seeing a dentist twice a year in order to help prevent dental health problems such as cavities.
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