A number of US scientist are actively working on a plasma based toothbrush. Initially, the work is focused on dental treatment where the Plasma Toothbrush disinfect and cleans out cavities, kills bacteria and forms a better bond for the fillings without resulting in any feeling of pain. A group at Missouri is working on such a device and independently a group at the University of Southern California have tested a plasma toothbrush also focused on cleaning cavities. It is amazing how even advanced forms of life can survive even the most hostile environments – see my earlier post on when everything sucks.
The devices uses pulsed atmospheric plasma to create ions and electrons that weaken and remove the bond between plaque and the tooth surface. Microbial layers or bio films are notoriously difficult to kill and plasmas have been shown to have the ability to penetrate these film and destroy the bacteria that could cause infection. The plasma torch is similar to a device developed to sterilise skin and can also be used to sterilise dental cavities before filling material is placed inside and provide a better surface for the dental material to bond to. Due to this improved surface texture fillings can be up to 60% stronger, which means they can last a great deal longer.
The research has been on going for a number years but appears to be topical at the moment and a patent has been filed on a plasma cleaning device.