Novel peptidomimetics against paediatric dental decay

Dame Margaret Brimble, Distinguished Professor, University of Auckland

Poor oral health is recognised as one of the most common chronic health problems in New Zealand. It affects nearly 40% of pre-school children, particularly children of Māori and Pacific descent.

Left untreated, dental decay can affect a child’s basic skills, including their ability to confidently speak, eat and socialise. This leads to significant and often lifelong emotional burdens. Dental decay also plays a significant role in other childhood medical conditions, including asthma, middle ear infections, chronic diabetes and heart conditions.

Fluoride doesn’t prevent plaque formation

Currently, preventative measures include fluoride toothpaste and fluorinated tap water; however, these fail to address dental plaque formation.

Dental treatments are invasive and expensive

Current treatments require invasive drilling, filling and tooth extraction procedures that cause significant discomfort, as well as financial strain on the health system. The development of novel and non-invasive therapeutic strategies for dental decay is therefore of great value to New Zealand’s wellbeing and economy.

Developing a non-invasive decay prevention for children

Distinguished Professor Brimble and a team from Auckland and Otago universities are developing a non-invasive multifunctional peptoid-based therapeutic. It will target dental decay by facilitating remineralisation of damaged dental enamel and preventing plaque formation through direct antimicrobial activity. The aim is also to develop a fast-acting therapy, so it’s suitable for children.

Cure Kids is funding this research to help fight tooth decay in children

Cure Kids is backing this innovative research, which promises a simple and practical solution to tooth decay in New Zealand children.