At a glance 1 min

Antibacterial artificial tooth

Antibacterial artificial tooth
Antibacterial artificial tooth

According to the WHO, cavities are one of the most widespread infectious diseases in the world. They affect 80% of the world's population, including 60 to 90% of all school-aged children and almost 100% of all adults. 

Based on this medical observation, researchers at Groningen University in the Netherlands have developed a 3D-printable antimicrobial plastic. According to tests carried out in their laboratories, when the plastic is covered in saliva, over 99% of the bacteria responsible for cavities are eliminated. The material is made up of antimicrobial quaternary ammonium salts. When positively charged, the salts disrupt the negatively-charged bacteria which explode and die upon contact. However, the material is completely harmless to human cells.

The material, which is in the form of a resin, is printed by stereolithography, a 3D printing process which entails curing a resin with a UV ray. The researchers were able to print various dental prostheses and orthodontic braces which were used for the above-mentioned tests. The results were very promising, and the researchers at Groningen University are already considering extending their research to other applications such as toothpaste and other dental hygiene products.

According to Dr. Hermann, one of the team's researchers, "it is a medical discovery with practical applications in the near future; developing this product should take less time than developing a new drug".

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