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Light therapy to beat plaque

22nd July 2008

Research by a team at Leeds Dental Institute has produced a mouthwash that destroys the bacteria which cause plaque by using white light.

Dentist Chair

The light therapy is akin to treatment given for some forms of skin cancer.

The Institute have said the treatment could be offered by 2011 so patients could use the light at home.

The researchers are also developing a "repair solution" which can aid the body's ability to generate new enamel and lessen the requirement for "drilling and filling".

Professor Jennifer Kirkham is leading the team's research and thinks the advances could prove helpful for the future of dental treatment.

The mouth rinse employs "photodynamic therapy", and Professor Kirkham believes it could aid those who find using a toothbrush difficult.

The mouthwash contains antibacterial molecules and these are soaked up by the bacteria which cause plaque formation. When the light is flashed into the mouth, the molecules kill the bacteria.

The team have not yet finished a comprehensive trial.

Prof Kirkham said: "The laboratory is looking to find safe new ways to control plaque which do not rely on toothpaste."

Another member of the team, Dr Simon Wood, said they wanted the mouthwash to be easy to use at home.

He said: "In our experiments, we've been using standard white light - I've been using a conventional security light."

"While you'd need a bright light to make it work, you could in theory have something in the head of a toothbrush."

 

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