Nanoparticles based on metal and metallic oxide have become a novel trend for dental use as they interfere with bacterial metabolism and prevent biofilm formation. Metal and metal oxide nanoparticles demonstrate significant antimicrobial activity by metal ion release, oxidative stress induction and non-oxidative mechanisms. Silver, zinc, titanium, copper, and magnesium ions have been used to develop metal and metal oxide nanoparticles. In addition, fluoride has been used to functionalise the metal and metal oxide nanoparticles. The fluoride-functionalised nanoparticles show fluoride-releasing properties that enhance apatite formation, promote remineralisation, and inhibit demineralisation of enamel and dentine. The particles’ nanoscopic size increases their surface-to-volume ratio and bioavailability. The increased surface area facilitates their mechanical bond with tooth tissue. Therefore, metal and metal oxide nanoparticles have been incorporated in dental materials to strengthen the mechanical properties of the materials and to prevent caries development. Another advantage of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles is their easily scalable production. The aim of this study is to provide an overview of the use of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles in caries prevention. The study reviews their effects on dental materials regarding antibacterial, remineralising, aesthetic, and mechanical properties.
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