Porphyromonas gingivalis causes gum disease, putting nearly half of all Americans at risk of bone loss as well as heart attack, stroke, and other systemic issues. Yet silicon nitride, a ceramic material used in spinal implants, has a lethal effect on the bacteria.
A team of scientists from the United States and Japan has found that chemical reactions on the surface of the material cause the bacteria’s nucleic acids to degrade and dramatically reduce amounts of proteins and fats, changing its metabolism.
Though further research is needed, the scientists believe the material holds promise as a therapeutic aid for treating severe gum disease. The study, “Silicon Nitride Bioceramics Induce Chemically Driven Lysis in Porphyromonas gingivalis,” was published by Langmuir.