Oral cavity incessantly encounters a plethora of microorganisms. Plaque biofilm—a major cause of caries, periodontitis and other dental diseases—is a complex community of bacteria or fungi that causes infection by protecting pathogenic microorganisms from external drug agents and escaping the host defense mechanisms. Antimicrobial nanoparticles are promising because of several advantages such as ultra-small sizes, large surface-area-to-mass ratio and special physical and chemical properties. To better summarize explorations of antimicrobial nanoparticles and provide directions for future studies, we present the following critical review. The keywords “nanoparticle,” “anti-infective or antibacterial or antimicrobial” and “dentistry” were retrieved from Pubmed, Scopus, Embase and Web of Science databases in the last five years. A total of 172 articles met the requirements were included and discussed in this review. The results show that superior antibacterial properties of nanoparticle biomaterials bring broad prospects in the oral field. This review presents the development, applications and underneath mechanisms of antibacterial nanoparticles in dentistry including restorative dentistry, endodontics, implantology, orthodontics, dental prostheses and periodontal field.
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