back to article Wash your mouth out with shape-shifting metal

Experts in chemistry, dentistry, and engineering have developed a way to electromagnetically control iron oxide nanoparticles to clean plaque on human teeth. In an article published recently in the journal ACS Nano, University of Pennsylvania researchers Min Jun Oh, Alaa Babeer, Yuan Liu, Zhi Ren, Jingyu Wu, David A. Issadore …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge
    Trollface

    It's a conspiracy

    Clearly these Nanobots are just there to lead the way for our Robot Overlords so that when they turn us into Soylent Green it will have a minty fresh taste.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: It's a conspiracy

      If science fiction has taught me anything, it's that no harm ever came from black viscous ooze in bodily orifices, no sir. Er...

      - The X Files

      - Prometheus

      - Star Trek TNG

      - Westworld television series

      - William Gibson's unfilmed Alien 3 script

      It's either going to kill you, rewrite your DNA to turn you into an alien hybrid or else eat your brain leaving just your body as a puppet for an AI.

      Cool!

  2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Trollface

    Never Swallow

    a dentic!

    The minty aftertaste is urine!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While the prospect of toothpaste that DOESN'T taste like mint is appealing

    Eating a twice daily dose of rust is going to have complications. While it may actually help people who are currently anemic, iron supplements can interfere with uptake of essential nutrients as well. There is the additional issue of waste disposal, as this will probably spike free iron levels in the wastewater supply, and of course, disinfecting whatever is still stuck to the magnetic "brush".

    Classic futurist nonsense, where in 10 short years people will stop using cheap, proven ways to do something and replace them with a complicated and expensive device that will probably be used instead to clean parts for the nuclear weapons program.

    Worse for me, if they ever DO sell this, they will probably insist on making it mint flavored.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: While the prospect of toothpaste that DOESN'T taste like mint is appealing

      RTFA - the 'rust' is not to be ingested, or if done accidentally would be tiny (RDA of Fe is 10-15 mg or up to double that for pregnant women), and is recollected and reused. It will not significantly increase Fe in wastewater.

      "people will stop using cheap, proven ways to do something..."

      While toothbrush/toothpaste is cheap/proven, it is still not very effective (even brushing 3X a day does not completely clean especially hard to reach areas) which is why even people who brush and floss regularly need an annual deep-clean and still sometimes get cavities.

      "if they ever DO sell this, they will probably insist on making it mint flavored..."

      Please no! (But there are many, many non-mint flavoured toothpastes available - YMMV depending on location of course). And it's easy to make your own toothpaste with bicarbonate

    2. storner

      Re: While the prospect of toothpaste that DOESN'T taste like mint is appealing

      There are toothpastes which are not mint-flavored. Google 'boiron homeodent toothpaste anise' if you would like something else.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: While the prospect of toothpaste that DOESN'T taste like mint is appealing

        Ouch. I misread that at first as 'boiron homeodent toothpaste anus'.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: While the prospect of toothpaste that DOESN'T taste like mint is appealing

          It's a floor wax and a dessert topping!

        2. Swarthy Silver badge

          Re: While the prospect of toothpaste that DOESN'T taste like mint is appealing

          anus, anise - either way it probably tastes like ass.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: While the prospect of toothpaste that DOESN'T taste like mint is appealing

          Ouch. I misread that at first as 'boiron homeodent toothpaste anus'.

          I mis-read homeodent as homeopathic and imagined an empty toothpaste tube :-)

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: While the prospect of toothpaste that DOESN'T taste like mint is appealing

        Google 'boiron homeodent toothpaste anise' if you would like something else.

        Or, y'know, just search for "non mint toothpaste", which is a bit easier to remember and type.

      3. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: While the prospect of toothpaste that DOESN'T taste like mint is appealing

        How does that work - homeopathic toothpaste is surely water...

    3. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: While the prospect of toothpaste that DOESN'T taste like mint is appealing

      I guess MRIs are out of the question, then...

  4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Gummed up

    This sounds brilliant up until the part where these microscopic balls get trapped below the gumline and breed infections.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Gummed up

      Or they drive out the tiny beneficial fairies that live between your teeth, while we're inventing problems with no evidence.

      Also, they're not spheres. Read the article.

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: Gummed up

        Dentists were finding infections caused by toothpaste microplastics back when they had blue sparkles in them. You don't want anything under your gums - that's pretty much the whole reason for cleaning your teeth.

        I could be wrong, but it doesn't seem that a mouth is acidic enough to dissolve iron oxide quickly. The common hydrated silica can dissolve in ordinary water as long as it's not already saturated.

  5. DS999 Silver badge

    I wonder how many people

    Who loudly proclaimed Bill Gates put 5G chips into the covid vaccine would have no problem with this?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: I wonder how many people

      How many of those people practice dental hygiene at all?

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: I wonder how many people

        A lot of them must: they're the reason it's called a toothbrush, and not a teethbrush.

  6. Mayday Silver badge
    Go

    I'd totally use something like this

    Provided it wont cost me $/£/€4k and all the crap can be retrieved from my gob once its done its job.

    1. JClouseau

      Re: I'd totally use something like this

      Seeing how much brands like Braun charge for their toothbrush heads I wouldn't hold my breath (ah !). A bit like printer vendors and platine-priced ink.

      I can imagine that because some of the stuff will be swallowed/lost, we'll have to "refill" our STARS thingy from time to time ?

      the IONP continually reattach themselves and also get gathered by the magnetic field and reintegrated into STARS mass.

      Why do I have this eerie feeling ?

      "But it will fit inside the mouth."

      That's a good start, at least someone is setting priorities right here.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I'd totally use something like this

        Seeing how much brands like Braun charge for their toothbrush heads I wouldn't hold my breath (ah !)

        There are cheaper suppliers but in my experience the bristles fall out. So I hesitate to suggest paying for quality but...

        :)

  7. Filippo Silver badge

    " the reattachment and reconfiguration process brings biofilm material into the STARS structure"

    They say "it can be analyzed for patogens", I read it as "the stuff gets dirty and needs cleaning".

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Have they never heard of salted

    popcorn? Cleans you teeth perfectly.

    Its just the skins that burrow under your gums!

    1. John D'oh!

      Re: Have they never heard of salted

      How do you attach them to the handle?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Have they never heard of salted

        The next step up from a Chewable toothbrush :-)

  9. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Remote control

    Via the IoT (Internet of Toothpaste)?

  10. sitta_europea

    What will those magnetic fields do to my fillings?

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      What will those magnetic fields do to my fillings?

      It might depend upon what your installed dental amalgam is made of.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      If you have ferrous fillings that's something to be concerned about regardless of your oral-hygiene regimen.

      Even old-fashioned amalgam fillings (an alloy of mercury, silver, tin, and copper) won't be significantly affected by the small magnetic flux required to herd these little beasties around. Ditto for gold crowns and the like.

      And if you have amalgam fillings you might want to consider having them replaced with resin anyway, since having a bunch of mercury in your mouth is not ideal, even if there's some disagreement on just how bad it is. (The FDA says "little to no data" on long-term effects, particularly for fetuses where the mother has amalgam fillings and other possibly more sensitive cases.)

      1. Roj Blake

        Re: The FDA says "little to no data" on long-term effects

        That's because people with amalgam fillings mysteriously die before reaching "long-term"

  11. EricB123 Bronze badge

    And it also works with dishes

    Is this more effective than Brillo?

  12. Dave 126 Silver badge

    "Literature Review

    2.1. Introduction

    Henry P. Coats was the first to mention Magnetic Abrasive Finishing (MAF) in his patent in 1938

    in the USA. Later MAF was further developed by researchers in the former USSR and Japan [19]. Many

    studies have been conducted to investigate the MAF process parameters and performance. Some of the

    studies employed permanent magnets as a magnetic field source, while others used electromagnets with

    direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC)."

    - https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/bitstream/handle/10012/13695/Al-Dulaimi_Thamir.pdf

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Magnetic tooth cleaning is always 85 years away.

  13. John D'oh!

    Some knucklehead is gonna read this and then try to brush their teeth with a wire brush.

  14. IceC0ld

    Engineers have developed a way to electromagnetically control iron oxide nanoparticles to clean plaque on human teeth................

    now that's a bit of a mouthful

    I'm still contemplating going over to charcoal 'enhanced' paste

  15. Dizzy Dwarf

    When the world has turned into Grey Goo

    at least it’ll smell minty-fresh.

  16. To Mars in Man Bras!
    Facepalm

    Click to Enlarge...

    Ugghh! --who's responsible for that horrible over-compressed JPG? JPG for photos, GIF [or PNG8] for textual graphics

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