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New dental tool may improve tooth decay detection in children
Updated: 6/28/2010 9:00:26 PM

New dental tool may improve tooth decay detection in children A new imaging tool used to detect oral bacteria in children may lower the risks of developing tooth decay and improve dental care, according to a study published in Pediatric Dentistry.

Using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) driven biouminescence, the innovative dental tool, dentists are able to detect visible light caused by bacteria-based ATP that leads to tooth decay.

In order to determine how well ATP could be found, a team of researchers enrolled 33 patients aged 7 to 12 years from Oregon Health and Science University School of Dentistry. The investigators took samples of plaque and saliva from one tooth in each of the four parts of the mouth in each participant.

After analyzing the specimens, the researchers discovered that patients who had a high count of bacteria cells and ATP measurements were more likely to develop tooth decay.

ATP detection may help "[clinics] to determine the [efficiency] of interventional therapies, including the use of mouth rinses and perhaps in the detection of bacterial infections in periodontal and other infectious diseases," said Curt Machida, professor of integrative biosciences and pediatric dentistry at the school.

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