The future is here (and not just because many of the technologies that were predicted in Back to the Future 2’s vision of the future are real) and amazing technology is a part of our everyday lives. If that movie and others like it have taught us anything it’s that nothing is too far fetched (even if it may seem like it at the time). Not even something like using nanoparticles to help keep teeth clean.
“A nanoparticle is a very tiny substance made from a range of different materials. For use in dentistry, nanoparticles are usually made of silica or calcium phosphate, a compound already found in teeth, along with other chemicals that kill bacteria or minerals to repopulate enamel, depending on the particles’ particular use. They can be injected into individual teeth or spread liberally as a toothpaste, mouthwash, or a thick liquid called a slurry. The most feasible and immediate application for nanoparticles is to protect teeth. There are thousands of bacteria that live in your mouth, but some of them can cause serious damage if they get into your gums through lack of flossing or if they wear down tooth enamel because you haven’t seen a dentist to scrape away the sticky plaque. That’s one of the big reasons you brush your teeth—to keep the bacteria from settling in. But several researchers have developed a nanoparticle coating that can kill those bacteria, protecting the teeth surface and preventing gum disease. Nanoparticles are designed to stick to the tooth structure, so the bacteria already there would be slowly eliminated,” says Anil Kishen, a professor of dentistry at the University of Toronto who has developed protective nanoparticles in his lab.Other nanoparticles could regenerate enamel, teeth’s hardest outer layer. Enamel protects teeth from extreme temperatures and potentially damaging chemicals that would cause cavities, but it gets worn down over time.”
Further exploration of the use of nanoparticles and its applications will truly revolutionize the dental health industry and ensure that people have healthier teeth for longer.