Blue-light-emitting dental flashlight better than mouthwash

Dental-care researchers are proposing a blue-light-emitting "mini-lightsaber" that you shine on your gums to kill bad bacteria more effectively than mouthwash.

"Micro-organisms called black-pigmented bacteria (BPB) such as Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella intermedia have been implicated in the initiation and progression of gum disease," says Soukos. Blue light kills these bacteria because it is absorbed by specific chemical compounds within the bacteria – called iron-porphyrins – causing a cascade of reactions fatal to the organism…

Bacteria in the pure culture were killed in seconds, whereas bacteria in the plaque samples were killed selectively. Those containing iron-porphyrins were most affected – a beneficial result as it is iron-porphyrins that help bacteria in harming the gums. It is the acidic environment produced by the harmful bugs that results in tooth decay.