Opposites attract plaque

Jan. 1, 2007
Disrupting plaque on teeth is mechanically accomplished with typical toothbrushes using normal methods.

Disrupting plaque on teeth is mechanically accomplished with typical toothbrushes using normal methods. But wouldn’t a specially charged toothbrush that draws bacterial plaque to the brush head and outwardly attracts bacteria to the bristles, making plaque jump off the tooth surface while desperately trying to flee the surface, be quite an achievement? Plaque attraction and repelling is the aim of ionic brushes. Simple magnets and batteries are used to describe bond polarity with the positive end (polar) and negative end (nonpolar) charges. This electron flow of polarity-attracting plaque to negatively charged bristles has been applied to ionic toothbrushes, which are available today.

Break the plaque bond

Elements cling together when polarities are opposite. The ionic action of an ionic toothbrush creates negative ions, which attract to the positive charge of plaque. This natural energy may eradicate harmful bacteria in the mouth. The ionic action breaks up plaque particles that adhere to the tooth surface. The surface has a negative charge, and when combined with the saliva and bristles, it destroys the bacterial plaque molecularly. When these toothbrushes use a metal band as part of the conduction process, moisture on the brusher’s hand needs to come in contact with this band. With wet finger-brushing, the positive ions are transferred or exchanged to the tooth surface and the conductivity of the battery source is increased. When combined with the bristles brushing over the teeth, the effective removal of the plaque is enhanced.

Ionic toothbrushes do not require toothpaste, but only simple prewetting of the bristles, as well as a power source in the brush or toothbrush head. My son has a strong aversion to toothpaste, so a toothbrush with a dry brush method is quite useful for him. For many people, including my son, the foaming action and abrasive consistency of toothpaste cause a lack of tooth brushing compliance. For some time now my son has used a toothbrush without paste and concentrates solely on his brushing technique. He recently began using a brush from the Soladey Company that fit into his method of plaque removal. This ionic brush is light source-activated. It resembles other standard flat-head toothbrushes; however, it has a metal (noncorroding) conducting rod made of titanium dioxide running through the handle which is visible through the clear head. The brush is not yet available to retailers.

Activating the Soladey-2 brush is simple and straightforward. It needs a good light source to hit the metal rod in the handle, combined with moistened bristle tufts to generate a solar-conducted ionic activity. This process has become daily brushing fun for my son. When he gets his brush, he raises his arm to the light over the bathroom sink, where the rod in the brush is charged to his verbal “Charge!” He now brushes longer because he doesn’t have any uncomfortable sensations from toothpaste.

Another toothbrush from Dyna-Dental uses a lithium power source, encased in the toothbrush handle, to repel plaque. The hyG Ionic Action toothbrush temporarily reverses the polarity of the accumulated plaque and tooth surface. The brush head is negatively charged and has a wrapped metal band to enhance the plaque removal. With the assistance of saliva, when the bristles contact the teeth, a repelling ionization is created when a circuit and active lithium power source are created. Because this brush uses a battery, it must be tested periodically for effectiveness. The brush has a power tester on the lower end of the handle. The battery is sealed inside the handle to keep it waterproof, and when the battery is worn a new handle is required for continuing the ionic action. The heads are interchangeable and come in small sizes for children.

Letting go of plaque

The alternative toothbrush DentaGenix Magnesium and Proton Ion works with ionic bonds and the power of friction. The toothbrush head creates a plaque-repelling (low voltage) electrical field by way of two metal discs. This is accomplished by the principle of metals (precious and base) being dissimilar without an external power supply - just two metals attracting plaque and keeping it on the tooth surface, then the friction from brushing removes the plaque. The SilverCare toothbrush uses an active silver ion (99.9 percent) to assist in the antibacterial process for maintaining the contamination from the bacteria on the bristles. This toothbrush has a silver plate on the head where the bristles emerge from the plate to fight the bacteria. This brush has replaceable heads.

Plaque is inherently attracted and held onto tooth surfaces by way of ionic bonding, which occurs only if the overall energy charge for the action is favorable. Ionic toothbrush technology is safe for removing bacterial plaque and breaking ionic bonds, and works on the premise of natural electrostatic force between oppositely charged ions. Whether using an ionic type brush with a light-activated rod, batteries, or simple antimicrobial ionic action, breaking the ionic bond on plaque is a concept worth investigating.

The author did not receive compensation for products mentioned. Visit www.soladey-usa.com, www.wellnesssgoods.com, www.silvercare-toothbrush.com, www.hygionictoothbrush.com, and www.ionicbrush.com to get charged about toothbrushing.

Karen Kaiser, RDH, graduated from St. Louis’ Forest Park dental hygiene program in 1994 and currently practices at the Center for Contemporary Dentistry in Columbia, Ill. She has written several articles for RDH and other publications, sits on dental hygiene panels, and is an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates. She can be contacted at [email protected].