Research reducing tooth decay wins prize

An exciting development to reduce tooth decay could bring toothache relief to millions of people throughout the world, according to new research into degradable particles for tooth repair.

Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London, have developed degradable particles which are designed to enter small holes in teeth and physically block and repair decayed teeth.

Professor Robert Hill from Queen Mary, University of London, leads the team behind the research, which has recently been awarded a £25,000 materials science Venture Prize by the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers.

He said: ‘These new particles dissolve faster than existing ones and are also softer than tooth enamel. They have a more expanded open structure and this allows water to go into the glass structure faster and the calcium and phosphate ions to come out faster.’

The findings could bring relief to an estimated 20 millions adults in the UK who suffer from tooth sensitivity. According to studies into major diseases and injuries by the Global Burden of Diseases study, 35% of the world’s population are prone to tooth decay or cavities, one of the most common major illnesses.

Above: Professor Robert Hill and Dr Natalia Karpukhina making special glass at 1450oC

Professor Bill Bonfield, chairman of the Armourers & Brasiers Venture Prize judging panel, said: ‘This hugely exciting development…. meets our aim to encourage innovative scientific
  entrepreneurship in the UK and provide funding, which is often difficult to source, to bring new materials science research like this to market.’

  The team comprises of Dr David Gillam, clinical lecturer and dentist, Dr Natalie Karpukhina, an expert on bioactive glasses and Dr Pushkar Wadke from Queen Mary Innovations.

  Professor Hill said: ‘This award will enable us to get our research from the laboratory into a prototype toothpaste.’ Thanks to the Venture Prize Award, the team now have the funding to be able to translate this laboratory research into commercial products.

Main picture: Left to right: Robert Hill, Pushkar Wadke, David Gillam and Natalia Karpukhina, standing by the Solid State NMR Spectrometer


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