A US researcher has been awarded a $1.77m (£1.1m) grant over a period of four years by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop new antibacterial and fluoride-releasing dental materials.
Dr Xiaoming Xu, the associate professor and director of biomaterials research at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Dentistry, will develop the new materials for use in dental composites, bonding agents and sealants.
Currently, most dental fillings and cosmetic restorations, including bonding and veneers, are done with resin-based dental composites – tooth-coloured plastic and glass materials.
Dr Xu is working to develop the next generation of dental materials that will be designed to reduce the secondary cavities that often develop around dental resin-based composite fillings as they shrink, causing them to fail. The new materials are expected to reduce secondary cavities and to prolong the life of restorations.
According to the US National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), tooth decay remains the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, even though it is largely preventable.
‘The development of these materials has the potential to make a huge impact on oral healthcare and oral health quality of life, in particular for the vast number of people at high risk for cavities,’ said Dr Xu.