Tiny robots invented to brush your teeth for you

3 mins read

In summary, if flossing drives you crazy, a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania may have the perfect answer for you.

Tiny robots invented to brush your teeth for you 1

The group has created a swarm of shape-shifting microrobots, the ultimate in hands-free dental treatment, that are prepared to treat and remove plaque and germs that cause tooth decay from your unclean, unflossed teeth.

Simply put, the small, multipurpose robo-dentists do the tasks of brushing, flossing, and rinsing without the monotony and, in some circumstances, the difficulties associated with manual dental care.

In other words, it has the potential to revolutionize everything, especially for people who lack the manual dexterity to properly brush their own teeth.

“You have to brush your teeth, then floss your teeth, then rinse your mouth; it’s a manual, multistep process,” said Hyun Michel Koo, UPenn professor and co-author of a new study published in the journal ACS Nano, in a statement. “The big innovation here is that the robotics system can do all three in a single, hands-free, automated way.”

Iron oxide nanoparticles, a magnetic substance that spontaneously assembles into moldable forms in the presence of a magnetic field, make up the majority of the micro-swarm.

The scientists were able to manipulate and transform the minibots into bristle- and floss-like structures that could cling to any tooth crevice by regulating such a magnetic field.

“Nanoparticles can be shaped and controlled with magnetic fields in surprising ways,” said Edward Seager, a senior UPenn researcher and study c0-author, in the statement. “We form bristles that can extend, sweep, and even transfer back and forth across a space, much like flossing.”

If that’s not astounding enough, these tiny nanoparticles may also possess further intriguing properties.

In addition to being magnetic, iron oxide is also catalytic, with the capacity to activate hydrogen peroxide to produce free radicals that can destroy plaque and kill germs. Icon of multitasking!

According to their study, during tests on dummy and actual human teeth, the flexible robotic system was able to virtually completely eliminate biofilms that cause cavities and gum disease.

In addition to saving anti-flossers from their white-threaded anguish, this technique may also help those who have difficulty cleaning their teeth on a regular basis owing to poor manual dexterity.

“We have this technology that’s as or more effective as brushing and flossing your teeth but doesn’t require manual dexterity,” Koo continued. “We believe it will disrupt current modalities and majorly advance oral health care.”

Penn Today


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