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New research has shown that a novel class of substances could be used to reduce the risk of infection or tooth decay after dental procedures. (Photo: fotohunter/Shutterstock)
0 Comments Jan 28, 2014 | News Americas

Dental scientists patent new agent to fight oral bacteria

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SEATTLE, USA: Researchers at the University of Washington's School of Dentistry have received a patent for a new way of using titanium-based materials to control bacterial infections. They believe that the substances could be used in a patient's mouth after dental procedures to reduce the risk of infection or in mouthwashes and toothpastes to limit bacterial growth prophylactically.

Over several years, the researchers have studied titanates and peroxo-titanates, inorganic compounds that can inhibit bacterial growth when bound to metal ions. They found these substances to be effective against endodontic, periodontic and cariogenic bacteria, indicating that these substances could be incorporated into gels or solutions that can be applied by dentists after treatments such as root canals or dental fillings.

Dr. Whasun Oh Chung, research associate professor at the school, explained that metals have been known to have antibacterial properties, but when used in concentrations high enough to be effective, they also carry the risk of toxic side effects. Using the new agent, however, therapeutic benefits can be achieved with less risk of toxicity.

Currently, the researchers are conducting human trials. They expect to finish them in spring. If proven effective, the new agent could even be used in narrowly targeted treatments for internal organs, as well as in dental or medical materials and devices, Chung said.

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