Nanomaterials are generally defined as chemical substances or materials that contain particles with one or more dimensions less than 100 nanometres in size. They may be either engineered or naturally occurring, but have unique properties due to a vastly increased surface area to volume ratio when compared to non-nano (bulk) materials. This provides the potential for the development of a wide range of enhanced formulations with superior efficacy including applications in oral healthcare. As the properties of a material change at the nano-scale, there are concerns that the toxicological profile of these materials may also change. Size is only one factor; changes in shape, surface chemistry, chemical composition, porosity and solubility all contribute to the overall biological toxicity profile of a nano-scale ingredient. Established links between the specific properties of a nanomaterial and toxicity are not well understood, leaving an important data gap in the literature. The purpose of this work was to utilise in vitro oral epithelial models for the assessment of safety profiles of nanomaterials for applications in next generation oral care products.
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