Lumoral mouthwash uses light to kill the bacteria that cause dental caries

Today, there are many people who have dental problems and cavities – also called dental caries – is a fairly common medical condition. Regular brushing is not always enough; Microscopic plaque is often left behind after brushing the teeth.

Recently, a team of experts from Finnish startup Koite Health has developed a new technology called Lumoral that uses mouthwash and light to kill the streptococcus mutans bacteria and the bacteria that cause gingivitis and dental caries. The startup was founded by researchers from Aalto University and Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) to sell the device.

Lumoral system is very effective against bacteria causing tooth decay and against periodontitis-associated bacteria.

Left: An electron microscope image showing dead Streptococcus mutans bacteria with the new photosensitive mouthwash stuck to their surface. Right: The light activator.
Left: An electron microscope image showing dead Streptococcus mutans bacteria with the new photosensitive mouthwash stuck to their surface. Right: The light activator. Credit: Koite Health.

To enable such selective cleaning, the user must rinse his/her mouth with a mouthwash containing a light-absorbing compound for 30 seconds, so the photosensitive substance contained in it sticks to the plaque. The substance is then activated with a light activator placed between the teeth.

The photosensitive substance adheres to the surface structures of the bacteria on the damaged tooth site. Bacteria of the “streptococcus mutans” type, which are directly responsible for the occurrence of dental caries, as well as bacteria that provoke gingivitis (gum disease), are under attack.

The light activator and mouthwash containing a light-absorbing compound.
The light activator and mouthwash containing a light-absorbing compound.

Dual-light therapy is administered to the entire dental area for 10 minutes. During this time, the red light from the device absorbed by the photosensitizer starts a chain reaction and destroys the target bacteria. At the same time, the glowing mouthpiece simultaneously treats the teeth with antibacterial blue light, which enhances the effect. In the final step, users perform brushing operations as usual to optimal removal of plaque.

According to the studies, the method only affects the targeted bacteria, and the bacterial flora in the mouth remains diverse. Furthermore, dual-light therapy causes no bacterial resistance.

Dual-light therapy is particularly beneficial to people with aggressive strains of dental bacteria, chronic diseases, or problems handling dental hygiene due to, for example, arthritis. Other special groups include children and people with cancer.

Although dentistry already uses devices that use light to kill bacteria on their teeth, the new system has several advantages. Lumoral technology is claimed to be unique in that it uses two types of light and is designed to be easily used at home. The gadget has already passed clinical trials and can be pre-ordered now from the company website.

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