The Clearsmile machine wants to change the way we clean our teeth

The inventor of a new teeth-cleaning device claims we could all end up using it instead of toothbrushes, floss, and mouthwash.

The Clearsmile consists of a mouthpiece that fits to the teeth, attached to a small container. To use, you add a special soluble tablet to the container along with some water and it froths up into a cleaning solution. You then pop in the mouthpiece, select the pressure setting of your choice, and enjoy/endure the sensation of plaque and old pieces of food being blasted off your teeth. As well as cleansing, the mixture protects against bacteria, and the machine is designed to be used by anyone aged five and over.

Dentist Igor Reizenson came up with the idea after he treated elderly patients in a New York hospital. Because they were bed-bound and often couldn’t sit up or open their mouths fully, they weren’t able to stay on top of their oral hygiene, and there were too many patients for nurses to brush and floss everyone twice a day. He thought there should be some way for everyone to clean their teeth, regardless of their age or health problems, and so he’s raising money on Kickstarter until 11 October to make his prototype a reality. With $30,633 pledged of an initial goal of $16,500, it looks like it’s a go.

But will the Clearsmile catch on? While it sounds like a great resource for elderly people, both at home and in care facilities, I’m not sure if everyone wants to trust their dental health to a machine, however efficient. There’s also always something a bit gross about mouthpieces, however well you wash them. But the idea of never unfurling a roll of floss again is appealing… And given that, as we found out last month, dentists can’t agree on how we should be brushing our teeth, we could probably do a lot worse.

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Diane Shipley