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London-Based Research Team Wins Venture Prize with Degradable Particles to Treat Tooth Decay

Posted on November 20, 2013 by Dr. Mal Braverman

An exciting new discovery could bring toothache relief to millions in the UK, and many more around the world.

Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have designed new degradable particles that can enter, block, and repair the small holes that form in damaged teeth. Made of a special type of glass, these particles can be added to toothpastes and gels and will dissolve immediately in the mouth, releasing phosphate and calcium that form solid tooth mineral.

At last count, about 40 percent of UK adult population (or 20 million people) had dental sensitivity issues caused by damaged teeth. On a global scale, tooth decay or dental caries in permanent teeth is the most common disease included in the latest Global Burden of Diseases study. According to the report, it affects 35 percent of human beings. That’s more than 2.5 billion people!

Lead by professor Robert Hill, the team behind the study was awarded the prestigious Venture Prize, which includes a $25,000 prize for continued research and development. The professor had this to say about his team’s promising discovery: “These new particles dissolve faster than existing ones and are also softer than tooth enamel…Also, while existing particles are significantly harder and abrade away the enamel during brushing, our new particles will be softer,” he added.

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