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New hands-free way to brush, rinse, and floss your teeth all at once


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A shapeshifting robotic microswarm may one day act as a toothbrush, rinse, and dental floss in one.
It could be particularly valuable for those who lack the manual dexterity to clean their teeth effectively themselves.
Building blocks are iron oxide nanoparticles that have catalytic and magnetic activity.
Using a magnetic field, bristlelike structures sweep away dental plaque and elongated strings slip between teeth to floss.
Catalyzed hydrogen peroxide release free radicals to kill tooth decay-causing bacteria and degrade dental plaque biofilms.
Robotic assemblies can conform to a variety of shapes to nearly eliminate the sticky biofilms that lead to cavities and gum disease.
“The design of the toothbrush has remained relatively unchanged for millennia,” says Hyun (Michel) Koo, co-corresponding author. 
Customizable nature could make it gentle, but also personalized, to the unique topographies of a patient’s oral cavity.
 “...helping the geriatric population and people with disabilities.”
Technology developed by the University of Pennsylvania, findings published in ACS Nano.

Shapeshifting microbots to automate the removal of dental plaque and decay-causing bacteria

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ACS Nano

Journal about nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Hyun (Michel) Koo

Professor in Department of Orthodontics at University of Pennsylvania.

University of Pennsylvania

Private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.