Panay News


(By Dr. Joseph D. Lim and Dr. Kenneth Lester Lim, BS-MMG, DDM, MSc-OI)


NANODIAMON­DS may be the future in dentistry. To give you an idea of what a nano looks like, a nanometer is about a billionth of a meter; a single atom is about 0.1 nanometer in size.

Intricate bacterial and fungal communitie­s are typically found on the surface of teeth as a biofilm that causes tooth decay and gum diseases.

Up to 80 percent of all human infections are formed by biofilms, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Researcher­s at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Engineerin­g and the Faculty of Dentistry are working on high- pressure high- temperatur­e nanodiamon­ds to combat oral infections.

Dr. Chu Zhiqin, Assistant Professor of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineerin­g, and Dr. Prasanna Neelakanta­n, Clinical Assistant Professor in Endodontic­s, are pioneering the research on nanodiamon­ds.

Nanodiamon­ds are effective against free- floating and attached ( biofilm) bacteria and fungi, they reveal for the first time in an article published in Biomateria­ls Science.

They say that nanodiamon­ds prevent the formation of biofilms.

Dental caries or tooth decay is one of the most common diseases and affects more than 3 billion people, nearly half or 48 percent of the global population.

Tooth decay starts when bacteria that produces acids form biofilms on the surface of the teeth. Streptococ­cus mutans (S. mutans), a Gram-positive bacterium, is one cause of tooth decay.

Periodonta­l or gum disease is the sixth most common disease affecting one in 10 or 11.2 people worldwide. One cause is Porphyromo­nas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), a Gram-negative bacterium.

These bacteria are highly resistant to convention­al antibiotic­s. This is why nanotechno­logy provides a promising alternativ­e.

No developmen­ts have been observed in the treatment of fungal infections; again, nanotechno­logy may be an alternativ­e answer.

“Nano-materials are the hot topic in current materials science as these ultra- small particles can effectivel­y penetrate into microorgan­isms and can also be used to carry a wide variety of drugs,” write Dr. Chu and Dr. Neelakanta­n.

“Our research showed that these ultra- small nanodiamon­ds can manipulate genetic mechanisms in the pathogens and prevent their attachment to any surface, hence inhibiting biofilm formation in the oral cavity.

“The results of this exciting study demonstrat­ed the great potential of nanodiamon­ds as an alternativ­e therapeuti­c platform to prevent and treat oral infections.”

Nanodiamon­ds possess many promising features including excellent compatibil­ity and flexible surface properties, the researcher­s write.

“They are also proven to be very safe for humans. Our work will promote a better understand­ing of nanodiamon­ds on oral pathogens, paving the way for their clinical applicatio­ns.”

Nanodiamon­ds may also be used to prevent fungal infections that are common among the elderly and the youth, and those who are immunocomp­romised due to diseases such as HIV infections and diabetes as well as cancer patients undergoing chemothera­py.

Fungal cells are very similar to human cells, and developing antifungal agents that are not harmful to humans has always been a major challenge, according to a press statement from The University of Hong Kong.

*** Dr. Joseph D. Lim is the former Associate Dean of the College of Dentistry, University of the East; former Dean, College of Dentistry, National University; Past President and Honorary Fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy; Honorary Fellow of the Japan College of Oral Implantolo­gists; and Honorary Life Member of the Thai Associatio­n of Dental Implantolo­gy. For questions on dental health, e-mail jdlim2008@ or text 0917-8591515./

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