A new product developed at the University of Liverpool could reduce the need for dental treatment it has been claimed.
Scientists have developed a toothbrush-sized device that uses a blue light to identify the build-up of plaque in the mouth before it is actually visible.
The light can be shone around the mouth and, once the user has donned yellow glasses with a red filter, it shows up any plaque as a red glow.
Professor Sue Higham, from the university's School of Dental Sciences, said that the Inspektor TC device could be easily incorporated into people's daily dental hygiene routines.
She explained: "It is extremely difficult to get rid of all plaque in the mouth. Left undisturbed it becomes what we call 'mature' plaque and gets thicker. This is what leads to gingivitis, or bleeding gums, and decay."
The professor said that the device will reveal parts of the mouth that are neglected when people brush their teeth, enabling them to remove the plaque before emergency dental treatment becomes necessary.
Her team now hopes to develop the prototype so that a product can be brought to market.
According to patient.co.uk, surveys conducted in the late 1990s found that more than half of adults had gingivitis and more than seven in ten adults had visible plaque.
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