Combat bad breath with rays of `light`

Updated: Jul 25, 2012, 13:53 PM IST

London: Bacteria in saliva which causes bad breath can be killed by exposure to blue light from tooth-whitening lamps, a study has claimed.

Researchers at the Hebrew University and Hadassah School of Dental Medicine in Jerusalem found that two minutes` exposure to blue light from lamps used for tooth whitening was enough to kill bacteria in saliva associated with bad breath, the `Daily Mail` reported.

Blue light is a component of so-called visible light, and is seen when light is split into its constituent colours, such as when you see a rainbow.

Although harmless to tissue, blue light is strong enough to trigger biological effects in the body, and it’s being used increasingly for a range of medical treatments.

The researchers used the light on 50 samples of saliva, and found that blue light caused a significant drop in odour.

The balance of bacteria in the samples was changed by the light, making the most smelly bacteria less dominant.

Scientists at Harvard University also found that blue light can also be used to combat bacteria associated with destructive gum disease.

The researchers said the light might be useful in preventing, controlling or treating periodontitis, an oral infection that can lead to loss of bone and teeth.

Some of the bacteria were eradicated within seconds, said Dr Nikos Soukos, who led the research.

It’s thought the light kills the bacteria by disrupting the protective coating around each bacterium.

Dermatologists have long used light therapy, also called phototherapy, to ease skin conditions.