New study finds potential alternative to antibiotics for treating dental disease

March 16, 2015

Many dental diseases are caused by the overgrowth of oral bacteria, and are typically treated with antibiotics. However, with the rise in antibiotic resistance, new approaches are needed to address and treat dental disease.

Many dental diseases are caused by the overgrowth of oral bacteria, and are typically treated with antibiotics. However, with the rise in antibiotic resistance, new approaches are needed to address and treat dental disease.

However, researchers in Shanghai may have found a solution.

Lead study author Zisheng Teng and a team of researchers at the Natural Science Foundation and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, discovered that a material called graphene oxide can help eliminate antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the mouth.

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Previous studies had found that graphene oxide (carbon nanosheets studded with oxygen groups) had promise for biomedical applications; with this in mind, Tang and the research team tested the material against three types of bacteria linked to tooth decay and gum disease.

The researchers found that the graphene oxide efficiently destroyed the cell walls and membranes of the bacteria, effectively slowing the growth of the pathogens.  The researchers concluded that the carbon nanosheets could have practical applications in dental care.

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As one of the most common health problems in the world, dental disease – and the ability to treat it – is an important issue. The study, entitled “Killing dental pathogens using antibacterial graphene oxide,” and published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, could have big implications for oral healthcare, as more and more bacterial strains become resistant to antibiotics.