Researchers at the University of Minho in Portugal have found that yeasts which cause hard to treat mouth infections are are killed using silver nanoparticles under laboratory conditions.
These yeast infections --caused by Candida albicans and Candida glabrata-- target the young, old and those with compromised immune systems. Professor Mariana Henriques, lead researcher on this project, said that her and her fellow researchers hope to test silver nanoparticles in mouthwash and dentures as a potential preventative measure against these infections. These two yeasts cause painful infections that affect seven out of ten denture wearers.
Findings of this research were published in the Society for Applied Microbiology's journal Letters in Applied Microbiology. Some researchers have expressed concerns around the safety of nanoparticle use but the authors stress this research is at an early stage and extensive safety trials will be carried out before any product reaches the market. However, Professor Henriques hopes to integrate silver nanoparticles into dentures which could prevent infections from taking hold.
"With the emergence of Candida infections which are frequently resistant to the traditional antifungal therapies, there is an increasing need for alternative approaches. So, silver nanoparticles appear to be a new potential strategy to combat these infections (as) the nanoparticles are relatively stable in liquid medium they could be developed into a mouthwash solution in the near future", said Professor Henriques.