Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for a healthy lifestyle. However, Issues such as bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay can occur from time to time, making it challenging for us to find an effective and gentle solution. Recently, researchers at Walailak University have developed an herbal mouthwash that can eliminate the biofilms responsible for these problems. This innovative formula, comprising silver nanoparticles and traditional Thai herbs, effectively removes the biofilms while remaining gentle on the oral mucosa. As a result, it is suitable for people who prefer a gentler solution, including those who have undergone chemotherapy and have mouth ulcers.
“We have a research team that studies bacteria producing biofilms and their effects on human health," said Assistant Professor Dr. Auemphon Mordmuang, a lecturer from the School of Medicine, Walailak University. "At first, our research focused on bacterial biofilm causing contact lens related eye infections, then we broadened our focus to more insight about the biofilm virulence and its pathogenicity including infection in the oral cavity.”
Biofilm is a slimy, thin film produced by microorganisms living within the mouth, such as bacteria. "In particular, Streptococcus mutans, a gram-positive bacterium that thrives in anaerobic conditions, is an important factor contributing to tooth decay. The bacteria use sugars which derived from foods to produce acid conditions and to promote the production of the bacterial biofilm. The bacterial biofilm plays a role to shield the pathogen that facilitates the prolonged survival of the bacteria within the oral environment. The biofilm-producing bacteria have more capacity to attach to the enamel of our teeth, gums, and oral epithelial tissue. Brushing teeth alone may not be sufficient to remove the biofilm," explained Assistant Professor Dr. Auemphon.
"We obtained a Thai traditional herbal formula that helps relieve mouth cavity diseases, and we improved it with the help of pharmaceutical technology experts who helped us design silver nanoparticles as a drug delivery system." The herbal mouthwash formula includes herbs such as clove, lemongrass, and Siamese rough bush. Each herb was tested to determine its inhibition properties against bacterial growth and ability to reduce inflammation. Once these properties were identified, the formula was improved by adding silver nanoparticles, which help facilitate substance delivery and ensure that the herb extracts work stably, even when exposed to the acidity and enzymes in the mouth. The silver nanoparticles show efficacy to destroy the bacterial biofilms while the herb extracts eliminate the bacterial cells and could reduce tissue inflammation.
"Currently, we are in the process of applying for a university grant for starting enterprises. Once we receive the grant, we plan to introduce our product to dental clinics, particularly for patients who cannot use normal mouthwash such as those who have undergone chemotherapy," added the researcher. With its non-alcoholic and natural properties, combined with the added benefit of nanoparticles, the herbal mouthwash is poised to become a distinctive and effective solution, offering an alternative to those who are looking for a gentler yet effective way to combat oral health problems.
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Photos by Asst. Prof. Dr. Auemphon Mordmuang
Article by Settaboot Onphakdee
Division of Corporate Communication