Joined: 16 Mar 2004
|Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:54 pm Post subject: Revolutionary Mouthwash Ensures Happy and Healthy Smiles
Dreaded dentists' drills could soon become a thing of the past.
The revolutionary mouthwash uses a molecule that is absorbed by bacteria in the mouth and destroys the harmful bug when it is activated by a bright light. It is deemed safe as the molecule is already used by the food industry and not harmful if accidentally swallowed.
Called photo dynamic therapy, it was developed from a cancer treatment as a way of helping disabled people look after their mouths if they were unable to use a toothbrush.
The Institute's research director, Professor Jennifer Kirkham, said the mouthwash could be used to treat gum disease and would only take a hygienist to perform the treatment. She added: 'We feel confident that this is a major step change for the future. 'It is a safe way of improving oral hygiene for those patients for whom brushing is not feasible or as an adjunct to brushing.
The new mouthwash could perform the same job as a toothbrush. 'At the moment we are not saying it is going to take over brushing as the trials have not been done yet. 'We have now to look at how much it is going to cost. At the moment it is very cheap.'
The drilling alternative that uses a protein to naturally repair holes on the tooth's enamel, could be ready for patients within five years. The compound works by creating a scaffold and attracting minerals that form enamel in the same way as the body creates teeth.
The chemical can be painted on teeth in small holes to prevent them decaying and becoming larger. The same treatment can be used to fill in tiny holes in teeth that cause them to become sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks.
The protein must pass British safety checks, which are currently underway. The institute is hopeful that trials will start early next year, with a view to getting a licence within five years.
Ultrasound could 're-grow' broken teeth in just 12 weeks
In a separate development, scientists revealed recently that teeth broken in an accident could soon be 'regrown' using an ultrasound machine half the size of a thumbnail.
The process could take just 12 weeks. Ultrasound is already used to help heal broken bones, now the technology is being applied to teeth.
Nanotechnology has enabled scientists to develop an ultrasound device small enough to fit inside the mouth. A wafer-thin ultrasound chip, which is preprogrammed so that it turns on automatically, can be clipped onto the teeth. When it is on, ultrasound waves massage the gums to stimulate and increase blood flow to produce new tooth tissue.
The treatment takes just 20 minutes a day. The current version of the machine has a small handheld device which tells the patient when it is working.
Dr Tarek El-Bialy, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, discovered the use of ultrasound to form new dental tissue from his research on rabbit incisors. He then moved on to humans and found similar results.
Sources: Leeds Dental Institute and University of Alberta in Edmonton