Web Zap*Germs Archive

April 24, 2005

Light: A Simple, Painless Way to Kill Bacteria That Cause Gum Disease?

Researchers have found that "broadband" light, shined on the gums of patients suffering from periodontal disease, kills a significant number of harmful bacteria -- quickly and painlessly.

More to the point, a recent press release claimed that the blue light used in the BriteSmile teeth-whitening system was found to kill four specific type of bacteria that cause periodontal disease with a few minutes' exposure, while leaving beneficial bacteria unharmed.

I have a recent memory of under-the-gum periodontal scaling to remove bacteria-laden plaque. The technician was pleasant, I received a local anesthetic during the procedure, and I know that bacteria-laden plaque must be removed on a regular basis. Nevertheless, I'd like to see this light-based system become part of all dentists' gum disease-prvention program.


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