Squid ink technique helps to detect gum disease

Gum disease is a common problem that needs to be looked for regularly. However, your gum check may soon be replaced by an unlikely but successful new solution—squid ink! This new method could soon bring in a gentler way for detecting gum disease.

Innovative new dental technique

Scientists from the University of California have recently combined squid ink with light and ultrasound to develop a new dental imaging method to detect gum disease. This new innovative technique is non-invasive, more comprehensive and more accurate than the tools currently used for this purpose.

Current methods

To assess a patient's gum health, dentists will use an instrument called a periodontal probe that's inserted in between the teeth and gums. To see how much (if at all) the gums have shrunk back from the teeth, to create pockets. The deeper the pockets, the more severe the gum disease is. While a good indicator, this new process promises to be even better.

Consistent and accurate testing for gum disease

A paper published in late 2017 in the Journal of Dental Research describes how it's now possible to image the entire pocket depth around the teeth consistently and accurately, without requiring any probing.

How it works

This new method involves first rinsing the mouth with a paste containing commercially available food-grade squid ink which serves as a contrast agent for an imaging technique called photoacoustic ultrasound. This involves shining a light signal—usually a short laser pulse—onto a sample, which heats up and expands, generating an acoustic signal that researchers can analyse thoroughly.

Bite's commitment to our friends

While the new squid ink technology hasn't hit general use yet, the Bite team is vigilent at keeping up with the latest dentistry advances. Our aim always, is to be able to offer you comprehensive, safer and gentler care as it becomes available.