Researchers have developed a bioactive peptide that coats teeth, helping to prevent cavities and heal existing ones. The researchers from the University of Hong Kong, and Anhui Medical University in China explained the coating prevents colonisation of the tooth surface by plaque-forming bacteria, and reduces the dissolution of tooth enamel and increases remineralisation.
The researchers based their coating on the natural antimicrobial peptide H5. H5 can be adsorbed into tooth enamel and destroy a range of bacteria. To promote remineralisation, the team added a phosphoserine group to one end of H5, which they assumed could help attract more calcium ions to repair the enamel than natural H5. They tested the modified peptide on slices of human molars.
Compared with natural H5, the new peptide adsorbed more strongly to the tooth surface, killed more bacteria, inhibited their adhesion and protected teeth from demineralisation. However, both peptides promoted remineralisation to a similar degree. According to a press release by the American Chemical Society, the modified peptide could be applied in the form of a varnish or gel to the teeth to prevent dental caries in the future.
“Biocompatibility tests revealed the safety of the synthesised bioactive peptide. In summary, the synthesised bioactive peptide could be applied safely to prevent dental caries and effectively induce in situ self-healing remineralisation for treatment of the decayed tooth,” stated the researchers.
The study ‘Constructing an antibiofouling and mineralizing bioactive tooth surface to protect against decay and promote self-healing’, was published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.