Solar-powered oral health

Students at the University of Saskatchewan College of Dentistry have invented a solar-powered toothbrush that does away with the need for toothpaste. The brush, which works by transferring electrons from a solar panel to a titanium oxide semiconductor located at its neck-which, in turn, stimulate a reaction that facilitates the disruption of plaque and helps reduce gum inflammation-has been proven effective in clinical trials. Nonetheless, it has stimulated a strong defence of toothpaste by the British Dental Health Foundation.

A recent clinical trial U of S College of Dentistry has found the brush-called the Soladey-J3X-is more effective at reducing bleeding associated with gingivitis when compared to a control brush. Investigators are currently preparing their findings for publication.

However, the British Dental Health Foundation has issued a statement saying that using a fluoride toothpaste twice a day when brushing teeth is by far the best form of dental hygiene.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, underlined the importance of toothpaste to ones oral health.

“It is absolutely vital that we stick with fluoride toothpaste when brushing our teeth, in order to maintain the good modern day levels of oral health,” he said. “Good toothpastes, along with a steady brushing action, can remove harmful plaque and bacteria from the mouth, preventing such diseases as caries, gum disease and tooth loss.

“Over the last century, the ingredients in toothpaste have developed to such an extent that it now offers us an exceptional level of protection against oral diseases such as decay and gum disease.

“The addition of fluoride for instance, which was became common in toothpaste from the 1970s, helps strengthen enamel and makes the teeth more resistant to tooth decay. Fluoride itself has played a vital role in improving our oral health and since it was introduced, levels of decay have dramatically fallen to less than half their previous levels.”

Other important components in toothpastes include antibacterial agents such as Triclosan and zinc, which helps thwart gingivitis(gum inflammation) that if untreated can lead to periodontal disease the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.

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