Brushing your teeth is not enough

08 November 2022

A breakthrough study shows that eliminating the bacteria contained in dental plaque should be as vital a part of dental hygiene as brushing your teeth and flossing.  

A breakthrough study shows that eliminating the bacteria contained in dental plaque should be as vital a part of dental hygiene as brushing your teeth and flossing.  

Periodontitis, a chronic infection caused by bacteria, is a disease that affects as many as 70 per cent of people in Western countries. Periodontitis is the sixth most common disease in the world that can also lead to other conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Because bacteria in the plaque cause 95 per cent of dental diseases, regularly eliminating dental plaque improves dental hygiene.

Europe’s largest periodontitis study is currently being carried out at Finland’s Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. The interim results of the three-year study indicate that using the Lumoral device created by Finnish health tech company Koite Health reduces gingivitis and improves dental hygiene significantly. Lumoral utilizes an efficient antibacterial method developed by Finnish researchers that eliminates disease-causing bacteria from dental plaque.  

The Lumoral device combines antibacterial photodynamic treatment (aPDT) with antibacterial blue light therapy (aBL). In Lumoral, the oral health-promoting red light activates the photosensitive Lumorinse mouth rinse, triggering a reaction that eliminates harmful oral bacteria. The process is called antibacterial photodynamic therapy (aPDT). The simultaneous application of the antibacterial blue light enhances the antibacterial effect.

More than half of the participants achieved healthy gums after only three months of antibacterial treatment  

The peer-reviewed study covering the three-month results (n=59) is now published in a special edition of Dentistry Journal. It shows that 54 percent of participants who used Lumoral were healed from gingivitis based on the bleeding on probing (BOP) index – this represents 2.5 times more than in the control group that didn’t use the device. In the control group, only 22 percent of participants had healthy gums after the three-month study period. 
The participants using Lumoral had a significantly lower amount of plaque build-up, whereas the control group still had the same amount of plaque left in their mouth.  

Professor Timo Sorsa from the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases at the University of Helsinki says, “You can only remove half of the plaque by brushing your teeth – it’s no wonder cavities and gingivitis are among the most common diseases in the world. If we want to improve the results of dental care treatments, we need to focus on removing the plaque that is left on the teeth after brushing them.”

Tommi Pätilä, heart surgeon and one of the developers of the Lumorol device, “Our hypothesis was correct: because 95 per cent of dental diseases are caused by bacteria in the plaque, regularly eliminating dental plaque improves dental hygiene as well as prevents and treats dental and gum diseases. The results are exceptional and the report shows that the golden standard treatment can be significantly improved.”

Deep gum pockets can store bacteria: Lumoral removes bacteria from where your toothbrush can’t reach  

In periodontitis, advanced gingivitis damages strands of collagen – so called periodontal fibers – surrounding the teeth. This can lead to the deepening of gum pockets. As the disease advances, the infection causes a loss of tissue, and ultimately may lead to losing one or more teeth. Periodontitis is significantly common, as up to half of over 50-year-olds suffer from the disease. Taking good care of dental hygiene is important, but in cases of advanced infection, gum pockets need to be regularly cleaned by a professional. However, cleaning gum pockets with traditional methods can be difficult, which leads to more bacteria filling the pockets, thus causing further infections.  

Sorsa continues, “Periodontitis is often asymptomatic for long periods of time. Unfortunately, pain is often the first motivator to get treated.”   

The research shows that two out of three (67 per cent) participants that used the Lumoral device were able to reduce the number of deep gum pockets by half compared to the initial situation. Four participants were able to completely eradicate deep gum pockets. The results are significantly better than in the participants in the control group.  

Pätilä concludes, “We want to permanently improve at-home dental hygiene. Previously, advanced gingivitis could only be treated at a dental clinic. This has caused challenges due to long waiting lists in public dental clinics and the high cost of treatment in private clinics. Using the Lumoral device combined with receiving proper treatment from professionals reduces infections in the mouth. Without proper at-home dental care, treatment done by oral health professionals is not as effective as desired, so using Lumoral in this group is beneficial. We expect the further results to be even better after the participants have been using Lumoral regularly for six months.”