Squid Ink Can be Used to Check for Gum Disease

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In a case of a very bizarre solution to a common problem for dentists, a gargled concoction of squid ink, water and cornflour can be used to check patients for gum disease.

The current method of checking is commonly an invasive procedure that involves using metal instruments between the teeth and gums. It is often uncomfortable if not outright painful. But the University of California San Diego has found a safer, less invasive and less painful method.

It involves gargling food-grade squid ink (the kind used in cooking), followed by using ultrasound and lasers to image the mouth. Melanin nanoparticles in the concoction then swell and create differences in pressure within the pockets of gums when exposed to a laser. Afterwards, ultrasound creates an accurate visual map with the depth of gum pockets showing the gum’s health.

It is a fascinating field of study, and shows the focus on healthcare research moving towards adapting natural solutions and amalgamating this with modern technology in order to create more advanced, sophisticated and less painful dentistry. Whilst currently there are concerns about the supply of squid ink in the future should the procedure end up becoming the standard for detecting gum disease, the positives of more accurate detection of gum disease and a procedure that will be less uncomfortable and therefore more palatable to those suffering from dental phobia can only be a good thing.

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