A new study suggests that tooth-binding micelles (or particles) may provide long-term cavity protection by adhering to tooth surfaces and gradually releasing encapsulated antimicrobials. Formulation of a mouthwash-based delivery system is anticipated, ultimately simplifying application and increasing at-home patient compliance. The researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha and the University of Florida, Gainesville report their findings in the November 2009 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
One of the main contributing factors to dental cavities is overpopulation of acid-producing bacteria in the oral cavity that causes localized destruction of compromised dental hard tissue. Due to the episodic nature of cavities, long-term benefits of periodic treatments administered during routine office visits are minimal. Other delivery systems developed to maintain drug concentrations, including bioadhesive tablets, patches, films, and gels, aren't very effective on the tooth surface and often cause irritation resulting in poor patient compliance. Emphasis on the need for therapeutic strategies that target the bacterial aspect of the disease and a delivery platform that would maintain the drug concentration on the tooth surface is warranted.
In the study tooth-binding micelles (molecular particles) were developed and encapsulated with farnesol, an antimicrobial recently found to be effective against the cavity causing bacterium Streptococcus mutans UA159. When tested on a model tooth surface the micelles were able to swiftly bind and gradually release the encapsulated farnesol. Additionally, biofilm inhibition studies of the farnesol-containing tooth-binding micelles demonstrated that they were able to inhibit S. mutans UA159 at much higher levels than untreated blank control micelles.
"A tooth-binding micelle delivery platform for the prevention and treatment of dental carries has been designed and prepared in this study," say the researchers. "It is anticipated that the tooth-binding micelles have the potential to be formulated into mouth rinses that may have the merits of simple application, cultural acceptance, and improved patient compliance."
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