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News Asia Pacific

Magnetic fields of electric toothbrushes could pose a risk to the user's health. (Photo: Alliance/Shutterstock)
Mar 13, 2014 | News Asia Pacific

Researchers warn of magnetic fields from dental devices

by DT Asia Pacific

NIIGATA, Japan/SINGAPORE: Low-frequency electromagnetic fields produced by common dental devices, such as electric toothbrushes and curing lights, are a potential threat to human health, researchers from the Nippon Dental University in Niigata, Japan, have reported. In a test, they found that such devices induced significant electric currents not only in several metallic intra-oral appliances but also in teeth.

While the effects of these currents, particularly in the long term, remain largely unknown, they have been proved to play a role in the development of systemic conditions, such as leukaemia and tumours of the central nervous system, the researchers said. Inside the mouth, they can lead to the corrosion of metallic appliances, promoting metal allergies and causing discomfort for the patient.

Exposure to these devices in patients has to be eliminated or reduced through the introduction of new safety standards or improvements in current technology, among other measures, they asserted.

The researchers measured the electric currents induced by magnetic fields that were produced by five commercially available electric toothbrushes and three curing lights within the 1–2,000 Hz range using a multimeter. Currents were detected in dental appliances made of various metals, with zirconia brackets most likely to induce currents, as well as in human hard tissue.

The test results were recently published in the Journal of Electrical and Electronic Systems.

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