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New Methods for Fighting Cavities

New Methods for Fighting Cavities

When harmful bacteria in our mouths process the sugars in the foods that we eat, they create an acid byproduct that leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay, in turn, leads to developing a dental cavity. Removing plaque and bacteria is the reason why we brush and floss our teeth, along with visiting the dentist every six months for a professional exam and cleaning. Dentists will often prescribe antibiotics to combat these bacteria, as they also lead to gum disease. Given the rise in antibiotic resistance, though, new methods are being developed for fighting the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Graphene oxide is biomedical material that has shown great promise in safely fighting several different strains of bacteria. This material is comprised of carbon nanosheets that are studded with oxygen groups. While graphene oxide had shown potential in fighting other strains of bacteria, it had not until recently been tested against the species of bacteria that are linked to tooth decay and gum disease. In this recent study, it was found that graphene oxide was effectively able to destroy the bacterial cell walls and membranes of three different species of bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Researchers concluded that graphene oxide could potentially be used in dental care.

This promising research may one day give us a new way to protect our teeth from developing cavities. Until then, it is important to regularly brush and floss, along with visiting the dentist biannually for a regular check-up.

 

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