Study Suggests Bioceramics Could Fight Periodontitis

May 26, 2016
Jared Kaltwasser

A recent study found that a ceramic material used in spinal implants can kill the bacteria that cause periodontitis.

Scientists may have found a new way to treat severe cases of periodontitis.

A study published last month in Langmuir, a journal of the American Chemical Society, found that silicon nitride can have a lethal effect on the bacteria that commonly cause periodontitis.

Silicon nitride is a ceramic material used in spinal implants.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Japan. According to the ACS, the study showed that the ceramic material changes the metabolism of Porphyromonas gigivalis, the bacteria that’s primarily responsible for periodontitis.

Surface chemical reactions at the surface caused the bacteria’s nucleic acids to degrade, drastically reducing the amounts of certain proteins and fats, the ACA said. Though it’s not yet known how the insights can be applied directly to dentistry, some speculate that the incorporation of silicon nitride into prosthetics might limit subsequent cases of periodontitis. The researchers say their study makes clear that silicon nitride holds promise as a treatment aid for patients with severe gum disease.

That could be a huge deal for the nation’s oral health. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of Americans age 30 and older have periodontitis, amounting to roughly 65 million people.