Dual-light photodynamic therapy helps kill oral bacteria

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Dual-light photodynamic therapy helps kill oral bacteria

Researchers have reported that repeatedly administering antibacterial photodynamic therapy to Streptococcus mutans, a pathogen of dental caries, helps kill oral bacteria. (Image: elv-design/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

Dental Tribune International

Thu. 27. February 2020


ESPOO, Finland: Regular toothbrushing helps maintain good oral health, but does not completely prevent the occurrence of oral disease. To help kill Streptococcus mutans bacteria and the harmful oral bacteria that cause gingivitis, researchers from Koite Health in Finland are launching a method intended for home use. The method involves using antibacterial photodynamic therapy and antibacterial blue light to reduce the markers indicating early gingivitis and plaque formation.

“Dental diseases are caused by the combined effect of the bacterial community, and Streptococcus mutans plays a key role in dental caries. For plaque, mutans is a bit like the first violin that starts a concert. It adheres to the tooth first and opens the door for other bacteria,” said co-founder of Koite Health Dr Tommi Pätilä, associate professor in paediatric heart surgery and organ transplantation in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, in a press release.

According to the researchers, bacteria living in the mouth are resistant to the antibacterial blue light because they are protected by various sugars. However, the combination of a photosensitive solution and the wavelength of dual light affects the bacteria’s internal structures.

In the study, the participants were administered a mouthwash containing a light-absorbing compound and were asked to rinse the mouth with it for 30 seconds. The substance was then activated with a photosensitiser placed between the teeth. The dual-light therapy was administered to the entire dental area for 10 minutes. “The photosensitive substance in the effervescent tablet adheres to the surface structures of the bacteria. Red light activates the substance and initiates a chain reaction that kills the bacteria. Antibacterial blue light administered at the same time significantly enhances the effect,” Pätilä explained.

The product was applied to the canines on one side of the mouth once a day, and the teeth on the other side of the mouth were left untreated. The data showed that there was less plaque formation and other markers of periodontitis on the side that received the treatment.

Although thorough oral hygiene is the most effective way to prevent dental disease, the researchers believe that dual-light therapy is particularly beneficial to people with aggressive strains of dental bacteria, chronic disease or diseases such as arthritis. Other high-risk groups include children and cancer patients. “Although dental care is generally better than earlier, the cost of oral diseases is around $442 billion globally,” said Sakari Nikinmaa, co-founder and CEO of Koite Health, in a press release.

“We especially hope that the product we’ve developed will help maintain the oral health of cancer patients who are undergoing intensive treatments and prevent gingivitis in diabetics. Diabetes causes a tenfold increase in the risk of gingivitis,” Nikinmaa concluded.

Dual-light therapy designed for home use will be launched for consumers in early 2020.

The study, titled “Dual-light photodynamic therapy administered daily provides a sustained antibacterial effect on biofilm and prevents Streptococcus mutans adaptation”, was published online on 9 January 2020 in bioRxiv.

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