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Device fights tooth decay with electricity

The day may soon come when plugging into a power socket helps fight tooth decay. Israeli company Fluorinex Active has come up with a device that uses electricity to ionize a fluoride-based gel that forms a lasting protective layer over the teeth.

Tooth tray
Credit: Fluorinex Active

The little gadget looks like the sort of tray that's used for teeth bleaching, and it comes in two models: one with rechargeable batteries, another with an external power supply. The gadget provides a small electrical current (6 to 9 volts) to activate a durable uptake of fluorides that adhere chemically to a tooth's mineral layer.

The treatment will be administered by a dentist once every few years, and the protection should last up to five years--longer than the adherence in existing methods, the company says. The new device is currently undergoing clinical trials at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and it should be ready for commercial use in about a year and a half.