Courtesy jfraserIf I had my druthers I’d much rather have my teeth drilled than have them cleaned. There’s always seems to be a lot more blood when the pearly-whites (or in my case pearly-yellows) get scraped and buffed. Last time my dental assistant Meghan was downright sadistic with the scraping tool. She was ticked off with Jason (her current boyfriend) because he had more snake tattoos than she did. Believe me I heard the whole story. And every time I didn’t grunt in agreement, Meg seemed to jam the pick deeper into my gums. Well, those days could soon be gone.
Researchers at the Leeds Dental Institute in England have been developing a method of cleaning teeth using a special mouthwash and ordinary light. It’s called photodynamic therapy. Plaque-causing bacteria in the mouth absorb antibacterial molecules in the mouthwash. When a bright light is shone onto the treated area, those molecules become activated and kill the bacteria. It’s pretty simple really. The same principles have been used in some skin cancer treatments.
Professor Jennifer Kirkham, who is leading the research, believes the practice could be used in homes within the next three years.
The same team is also working on a new way to help the body grow new tooth enamel. The tooth is coated with a special protein that attracts calcium and helps rebuild the damaged area, some of which can be holes etched into the enamel by plaque build-up. That could mean less drilling and filling, and less time going to the dentist. Well, where's the fun in that? All there’d be left to look forward to is bridgework and root canals.
BBC website story