Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ending toothbrushing once and for all

The title 'sounds' gross, but this is actually quite interesting research. At group of British scientists have been working on alternative methods to toothbrushing.

One method, the more developed one, involved using a mouthwash to introduce antibacterial agents into the mouth where they will insert themselves into bacteria which cause plaque--and only those bacteria (not 'friendly bacteria'). Then, when exposed to bright light, the agents will activate and kill the bacteria in which they reside.

The other, more revolutionary, method is a way to regrow tooth enamel. Currently, tooth enamel stops being laid down after the tooth erupts from the gum, so once a tooth emerges the enamel has to be protected from acid (which comes from the bacterial plaque). A solution which contains proteins that encourage the growth of enamel are put onto teeth. The solution enters microscopic holes in the teeth, and draws calcium to the area to rebuild enamel and plug the gaps. Thus, tooth enamel can be regrown.

Now, what would be great is if a bacteria could be made that would: kill plaque-causing bacteria; eat plaque; counteract the plaque's acidity; be antiseptic (at least for 'bad bacteria'; regrow tooth enamel; and freshen breath (via excreting something mint flavored? hey, bacteria have to poop, too).

That would end the need for toothbrushing once and for all. The bacteria could be administered to newborns in both the developed and developing worlds, and those children would have their teeth protected. Adults could revitalize their teeth. And the effects of bad tooth hygiene such as tooth infections would be a thing of history.

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Found this article interesting? Check out:
History: The Roadmap to the Future.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Africa.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Asia.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Europe.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Latin America.

The Science Fiction Channel + Technorium.
The Vegetarian Diaries + Biologeel.

1 comment:

Al said...

At group of British scientists have been working on alternative methods to toothbrushing.

Hah! ... I don't know why, but this line just cracks me up. I guess I'm justing thinking 'Austin Powers' and the sterotype of the Brits and state-of-the-art dental care...