Researchers have discovered that silver nanoparticles can be used to destroy yeasts such as Candida glabrata and Candida albicans, which cause difficult-to-treat mouth infections.
A research team comprising Professor Mariana Henriques and her colleagues from the University of Minho is testing silver nanoparticles in dentures and mouthwash to secure protection against these yeast infections. The research findings have been reported in Letters in Applied Microbiology, a journal of the Society for Applied Microbiology.
In the study, the research team investigated the various sizes of silver nanoparticles to detect their anti-fungal properties against Candida glabrata and Candida albicans, which cause infections such as dental stomatitis and oral thrush in 7 out of 10 denture users. The formation of biofilms by the microorganisms makes these infections hard to treat.
The research team utilized synthetic biofilms in an environment, which closely imitates saliva. It then introduced various concentrations and sizes of silver nanoparticles. The team discovered that different-sized nanoparticles were equally efficient at destroying the yeasts. Some scientists have questioned the safety of nanoparticle utilization. However, the research team emphasized that its work is at an early phase and rigorous safety trials will be conducted prior to the commercialization of any product.
Professor Henriques stated that since Candida infections are resistant to conventional antifungal therapies, other alternative solutions are urgently needed. Hence, silver nanoparticles hold promise to treat these infections. A mouthwash solution can be developed in the near future from these nanoparticles due to their stability in a liquid medium. Henriques has plans to use silver nanoparticles in dentures to prevent the development of these infections.