Even very simple forms of nanotech can be surprisingly useful. Polishing teeth with silica nanoparticles produces much smoother surfaces than does polishing with larger silica particles, making it easier to remove harmful bacteria. From ScienceDaily “New tooth cavity protection: nanoparticles make surface too slippery for bacteria to adhere“:
Clarkson University Center for Advanced Materials Processing Professor Igor Sokolov and graduate student Ravi M. Gaikwad have discovered a new method of protecting teeth from cavities by ultrafine polishing with silica nanoparticles.
The researchers adopted polishing technology used in the semiconductor industry (chemical mechanical planarization) to polish the surface of human teeth down to nanoscale roughness. Roughness left on the tooth after the polishing is just a few nanometers, which is one-billionth of a meter or about 100,000 times smaller than a grain of sand.
Sokolov and Gaikwad showed that teeth polished in this way become too “slippery” for the “bad” bacteria that is responsible for the destruction of dental enamel. As a result the bacteria can be removed fairly easily before they cause damage to the enamel.
The research was published in the Journal of Dental Research (abstract).