Since the invention of the toothbrush 75 years ago, there has been little true innovation in oral hygiene. All that is about to change, however, is the upcoming release of the PhotOral®, a novel oral hygiene device that uses smart light technology and blue LEDs to combat pathogenic bacteria in the mouth. The handheld device is the latest example of a commercialised technology based on research out of the Forsyth Institute, and is currently available for pre-order with delivery expected to begin this spring.
The concept for PhotOral originated in 2005, when Forsyth scientists were conducting research into teeth whitening techniques for a major oral care brand. The team found that 455nm wavelength blue light reduced inflammation and improved the overall periodontal (gum) health of their patients. Not only did the blue light kill “black-pigmented” bacteria (BPB), one of the most destructive oral bacteria, but it also left the good bacteria completely unharmed.
In 2011, Forsyth licensed the technology to the start-up PhotOral, Inc. Following clinical trials, the company developed a personal oral care device that targets pathogenic bacteria that contribute to gum disease.
“Unlike brushing, flossing or using an oral antiseptic that can kill the good bacteria along with the bad, the PhotOral device only kills harmful bacteria,” says Stamatis Astra, PhotOral CEO. “When the blue light hits the teeth, they act as mirrors to reflect the light into the dental pocket between the gums, areas that are otherwise inaccessible through brushing and flossing alone. The PhotOral provides a crucial new tool in the wellness arsenal, leading to improved oral health, and ultimately better overall health.”
The handheld device, which resembles a mouthguard, can currently be pre-ordered from www.photoral.com for $229. The device is inserted into the mouth twice a day for 60 seconds and when used in combination with brushing and flossing, adds another technology to improve oral health. The company ultimately aims to improve oral health by enabling tracking, measuring and eventually diagnosing oral disease. Collected data will seamlessly integrate with mobile health apps to add an extra layer of prevention and wellness monitoring.
The original research conducted by Dr. Nikos Soukos and Dr. Max Goodson entitled “Phototargeting Oral Black-Pigmented Bacteria” was published in April 2005 in the Journal of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.