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Bioglass Toothpaste

A new approach to fighting tooth decay utilizes special toothpaste infused with small particles of glass that block openings in the dentine and can even re-mineralize areas in which cavities have begun to form.

The special glass particles have an open network structure that dissolves quickly in saliva. Because they readily react with water, the toothpaste is formulated with glycerol and a water-soluble polymer which holds the glass particles in place and stops them from being washed away. They then release calcium and phosphate ions, which crystallize to form a structure similar to tooth enamel, known as an apatitic phase. In laboratory tests, a single brushing was effective for occluding the tubules in the tooth surface, forming an apatite-like layer in less than three hours. Regular use will provide better long-term effectiveness by increasing the thickness of the protective layer.

The developers hope to test prototypes of the new toothpaste on a larger scale within the next year, and commercialize the product within two years.

For information: Robert Hill, Queen Mary University, Institute of Dentistry, Francis Bancroft Building, Second Floor, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, United Kingdom; phone: +44 (0)20-7882-5794; fax: +44 (0)20-7882-7979; email:; Web site:   

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