Radiant plasma may combat cavities

12:39am, September 5, 2006

Here's a new way to flash a smile: Waft a glowing plasma of charged particles onto your teeth. Researchers in the Netherlands and the United States have shown that a radiant vapor made from electrically zapped helium gas quickly kills colonies of the main bacterial culprit in tooth decay.

The finding might ultimately lead to improved dental-office techniques for stopping—and possibly even reversing—early-stage decay caused by Streptococcus mutans or other microbes and for disinfecting hard-to-reach areas between teeth, says David R. Drake of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in Iowa City.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News