Dental adviser’s dim view on solar toothbrush

A top dental commentator has slammed the development of a new electric toothbrush that relies on the sun to work and doesn’t require toothpaste.

The new brush is powered by solar energy and has been designed by Canadian dentistry professors in collaboration with a Japanese firm.

It houses a solar panel at the base of the brush that transmits electrons to the head of the toothbrush.

When the electrons reach the head of the brush – known as the Soladey-J3X – they react with acid in the mouth, creating a chemical reaction that breaks down plaque cells and kills other bacteria in the mouth.

But Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, maintains: ‘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. 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.

More recently whitening toothpastes have become very popular with special stain removers and abrasives to help restore the tooth’s natural whiteness.

Ingredients inside toothpaste also provide the recipient with fresher breath, while sensitive toothpastes help prevent sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks.

Meanwhile, the new brush is only in the prototype stage – and Dr Carter suggests, says there could be many pitfalls to the idea and would advise a level of caution towards the gadget.

He adds: ‘The components that make up today’s toothpaste are far too complex for a gadget to replicate. I’m certain that more tests need to undergone to see if the brush can do what it claims and, in addition, to measure any potential long-term effects not using toothpaste may have on an individual.

‘As we know of, there is yet no substitute for brushing our teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste – and I cannot see that changing.’

The company responsible for the brush is currently conducting a study to determine how teenagers rate the solar powered toothbrush in comparison with a regular toothbrush.

The Soladey-J3X also won a first place prize at the annual FDI World Dental Conference in Dubai.

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