REF2014 Impact Case Study: The development and commercialisation of a polymer that reduces microbial colonisation on dental surfaces.

  • John Tsibouklis (Participant)

Impact: Health & Welfare Impacts, Economic & Commercial Impacts

Description of impact

A team of Portsmouth researchers has developed a transparent polymer coating that prevents colonising bacteria from adhering to the surfaces of teeth. In addition to protecting from decay, the polymer coating has the added benefits of reducing dental erosion, alleviating root hypersensitivity, and inhibiting the staining of teeth. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has adopted this technology and the polymer has been successfully developed into a component of “next-generation” oral healthcare products.

Who is affected

General Public; GlaxoSmithKline.


The Portsmouth team’s innovative approach of using their ultra-low surface energy fluoropolymers to reduce bacterial colonization received the attention of several industrial partners, each of whom signed evaluation licenses in the technology. Collaboration with GSK led to patent protection of the intellectual property relating to the design of the fluoropolymer itself, to a process for its preparation, to oral care compositions comprising such polymers, and to its use in the prevention, inhibition and treatment of dental erosion, tooth wear, dentine hypersensitivity, anti-staining of dental enamel and anti-adhesion of oral bacteria.
When added to toothpaste and/or mouthwash, such materials provide an efficient, biocompatible and cost-effective means of limiting the damage to teeth by oral bacteria. Therefore, the development of these innovative compounds as inhibitors of bacterial adhesion to dental surfaces has wide ranging benefits in enhancing the oral health of the general public, not only in the UK, but also worldwide. In the words of the Director of Gum Health and Dry Mouth Research and Development at GSK, collaborations with the Portsmouth team “have been very successful and have resulted in next generation products which have a big impact on the quality of life of patients and consumers.” GSK toothpastes are sold world-wide and include many well-known brands in the UK, such as Sensodyne® and Aquafresh®.
Impact statusOpen
Category of impactHealth & Welfare Impacts, Economic & Commercial Impacts
Impact levelBenefit (delivered impact)


  • Oral Health


  • REF2014