Spectroscopy technique can predict tooth cavity progression

Using data obtained via a spectroscopy technique, researchers found a way to prevent tooth cavity development in its early stages.

Content Dam Bow Article 2018 6 172665 Web2

A team of researchers at Voronezh State University (VSU; Russia) has discovered that an increase in the concentration of several substances in oral fluid can serve as the indication of dental caries (tooth cavity) development. Using this data obtained via a spectroscopy technique, they found a way to prevent the disease in its early stages, as caries can lead to more serious complications such as periodontitis and pulpitis.

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The researchers studied the changes in the molecular composition of saliva in people with multiple caries and developed a technique for restoring tooth enamel with artificially created biomimetic materials. Biomimetic materials are created to mimic certain natural materials or their properties.

Initially, the researchers found that the saliva of people with caries has lower content of mineral substances and inorganic compounds, while the proportion of the organic components, such as esters, fats, and carbohydrates, increases. In addition, the researchers showed that the saliva of people suffering from multiple caries contains twice as much thiocyanates than normal. These substances are released by the human body in response to the emergence of a carious process.

Content Dam Bow Article 2018 6 172665 Web2

Project leader Dr. Pavel Seredin (right) and leading researcher of the channel of IR spectromicroscopy of the Australian synchrotron Jitraporn (Pimm) Vongsvivut (left) during the experiments on the project. (Photo credit: Pavel Seredin)

For the saliva analysis, the scientists used the method of infrared (IR) spectromicroscopy with the source of synchrotron radiation. This method may be used to accurately determine qualitative and quantitative composition of a sample. Another advantage of IR spectromicroscopy is its relative simplicity and the opportunity to analyze mixtures of substances.

After conducting initial analysis, the scientists studied the formation of inorganic solids in the tooth tissues. The obtained data became the basis for development of therapeutic and prophylactic agents that could normalize metabolic processes and prevent caries development. Also, the researchers analyzed the human tooth enamel composition in all stages of the carious process. They found out that in the early stages, the enamel of the tooth is destroyed under the action of the acid secreted by bacteria. This leads to the formation of an acidic calcium salt and orthophosphoric acid. Using this data, scientists created a biomaterial identical to healthy tooth enamel.

With this work, dental practitioners could someday use these recommendations for treatment and prevention of caries in the early stages, avoiding such procedures as tooth drilling, says Pavel Seredin, senior researcher at the Department of Solid State Physics and Nanostructures at Voronezh State University.

Full details of the work appear in the EPMA Journal.

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