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Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 00:15 GMT 01:15 UK
Video toothbrush hunts 'debris'
Toothbrush promises the latest in oral hygiene
A Japanese company is developing a video toothbrush to help people ensure they clean their teeth thoroughly.

When food gets trapped in the teeth and gums it rots and causes bad breath and decay.

Any innovation that can help to improve the quality of people's teeth will always be welcomed by us

British Dental Health Foundation
Poor dental hygiene has also been linked to serious lung disease and problems with premature pregnancy.

Regular brushing can reduce the risk of this happening, but it is not always that easy to locate every last scrap of food.

Panasonic believes its new product may provide the answer.

The company has developed an electric toothbrush which has a camera on a stalk next to the vibrating bristles, New Scientist magazine reports.

Connected to a monitor, it helps the brusher to track down food debris in even the most awkward places.

'Normal brush will do'

The British Dental Health Foundation said regular brushing could miss up to 40% of the food particles left in the mouth.

A spokeswoman said: "Any innovation that can help to improve the quality of people's teeth will always be welcomed by us."

The number of people losing their teeth through decay had decreased significantly over the last 30 years, she added.

This was in part due to the greater availability of oral health products, and the more effective design of modern toothbrushes.

But a spokesman for the British Dental Association said: "It is important that people are aware that it's not essential to have this product in order to brush thoroughly and effectively - a normal toothbrush (used twice a day with fluoride toothpaste) will do just as well.

"People shouldn't feel that they can't look after their teeth properly unless they fork out for expensive high-tech kit."

See also:

30 Jan 01 | Health
Poor teeth damage lungs
06 May 00 | Health
Gum disease pregnancy hazard
14 Jul 01 | Health
How not to use a toothbrush
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