Researchers from the University of Washington have developed a tool that can measure the amount of acidity built up by your plaque’s bacteria which leads to cavities.
Dentists have plenty of dental tools for helping you prevent cavities but detecting the early signs of cavities could make preventing cavities from forming on certain services a lot easier.
This prototype might mark a huge improvement for the future of early cavity detection to stop cavities from ever forming to a point where they’ll require a filling.
What is this prototype?
This device called (O-pH) emits an LED light that measures your teeth’ reactions to an FDA-approved chemical dye that is applied to your teeth. The device then provides a reading of each tooth’s PH of the plaque which covers your teeth which can tell your dentist which area of your teeth is at the highest risk of developing a cavity.
Bacteria and your dental plaque:
Manuja Sharma the lead author of this study said “Plaque has a lot of bacteria that produce acid when they interact with the sugar in our food. This acid is what causes the corrosion of the tooth surface and eventually cavities.
So, if we can capture information about the acidic activity, we can get an idea of how bacteria are growing in the dental biofilm or plaque. Not all bacteria are bad however so measuring the acidity levels can tell the dentist everything they need to know and prevent them from testing for specific harmful bacteria.
The Impact of this study for pediatric dentistry:
In this study, 30 patients between the ages of 10-18 were studied at the UW School of Dentistry’s Center for Pediatric Dentistry. Kids and teenagers were chosen for this study due to their thinner tooth enamel making early warning signs of tooth erosion to be even more important.
The light that is collected from the kid’s teeth using the dye that is applied to their teeth is transmitted back to a central box for a PH reading. The results were also compared before and after sugar rinses and before or after a professional dental cleaning.
Eric Seibel the senior author of this study said the acidity test came from imagining that when a patient first sits in the dental chair, “a dentist would rinse them with the tasteless fluorescent dye solution and then get their teeth optically scanned to look for high acid production areas where the enamel is getting demineralized.” The researchers are continuing to explore and develop the prototype so that dentists will be able to instantly show the exact location of the high acidity and target the areas where future cavities may occur.
Summary (Acidity levels can indicate certain teeth surfaces that require extra attention):
I’m sure everyone that once went to the dentist and found out they have multiple cavities are very excited about this news. This technology could do wonders for targeting dental problems before they occur in the future. Dentists today have other tools that help them detect issues such as gum recession and teeth erosion that can lead to cavities as well.
As of today, our dental clinic in London Ontario recommends the best way of detecting and preventing dental problems is by continuing with your b-annual dental cleanings and exams. If you have any questions feel free to contact us for more information.