Tooth Filling Fights Bacteria and Strengthens Teeth | The Mary Sue
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New Tooth Filling Fights Bacteria, Strengthens Your Chompers


Getting a cavity filled is an unpleasant process by any measure, but what makes it worse is that merely drilling out parts of rotten teeth may not be enough to prevent future cavities. Thankfully, a team of scientists has developed an anti-bacterial fill to fight future cavities and strengthen teeth in the process. You’ll still have to brush though. And floss — my god, why don’t you floss??

So first, a little education: Tooth decay is caused by the acids from bacteria living on the teeth. When the damage becomes noticeable — e.g. so painful you can’t stand it — dentists drill out the area and fill in the hole. However, the process of decaying robs the tooth of vital minerals and some bacteria can remain in and on the tooth even after drilling.

To counter these sleeper-cell bacteria and revitalize teeth, researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a nanocomposite that not only fights bacteria, but restores lost mineralization to the tooth. This new fill contains minute particles of calcium phosphate, to help shore up filled teeth. Its antibacterial power comes from particles of quaternary ammonium and silver, which maintain a high pH to counteract the acid produced by bacteria.

The research team has also given dentists two more weapons in the never-ending fight against tooth decay: An anti-bacterial primer and adhesive to hold dental filling in place. Like the nanocomposite fill, this helps crush bacterial resistance and ensure a healthier tooth. Professor Huakun Xu, who worked on the project, sums it up this way:

The bottom line is we are continuing to improve these materials and making them stronger in their antibacterial and remineralizing capacities as well as increasing their longevity

Take that, cavities!

Of course, the best way to keep from needing to worry about teeth-killing bacteria is to try your damndest not to get cavities. I guess what I am trying to say here is that you should probably be flossing right now.

(via Physorg, image via Wikipedia)

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