New ultrasound technology for cleaning teeth


A new technology, using water treated with high-frequency sound waves, could help fight debilitating lung infections in conditions like cystic fibrosis.

The importance of keeping teeth and gums healthy through good oral hygiene is important to us all, but especially so to those with chronic respiratory conditions like cystic fibrosis, as oral bacteria can spread to the lungs and airways, causing infections and often leading to serious complications.

Tooth plaque is a form of biofilm, or protective layer created by populations of bacteria that makes their removal extremely difficult. To better tackle infections form oral bacteria, researchers at the NIHR Southampton Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) conducted a study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, investigating a new way to keep teeth clean and remove plaque.

The researchers tested a new technology, known as ultrasonically activated water, to clean plaque from artificial teeth made out of etched glass. High-frequency sound waves, above the limits of human hearing, were used to create a cloud of bubbles in freely flowing water that was directed at the artificial teeth coated in plaque. The teeth were then examined under the microscope to assess how much plaque had been removed.

This ultrasonically activated water stream was found to be much better at cleaning the artificial teeth than just a normal flow of water, with 99.9% removal of the plaque after just ten seconds. It was able to remove plaque biofilms produced by three types of tooth decay-causing bacteria.

This research has demonstrated that ultrasonically activated water could be an extremely effective new tool in the fight against tooth decay, helping to improve oral hygiene.

Posted on Friday 22 April 2016