Solar-Powered Toothbrush Needs No Toothpaste

solar toothbrush image

Image of toothbrush via ingridtaylor via Flickr CC; image of solar powered brush via

It's one thing to have an electric toothbrush that charges with solar power. It's another thing altogether to have an electric toothbrush that charges with solar power and eliminates the need for you to ever buy toothpaste again. Sound too good to be true? It might be. Though Shiken company of Japan believes otherwise now that they've created a toothbrush that uses a chemical reaction in your mouth to clean your teeth, and has asked University of Saskatchewan dentistry professor emeritus Dr. Kunio Komiyama and his colleague Dr. Gerry Uswak to help them prove it.

According to, 120 teens willing to brush with the light-powered toothbrush are going to be the guinea pigs for the device, which supposedly cleans plaque and bacteria better than a conventional brush with a good paste.

The technology apparently isn't a brand new idea. Komiyama came up with the first model 15 years ago. The new model, Soladey-J3X, is twice as strong but works in the same manner as the first model: a titanium dioxide rod in the neck of the brush releases electrons when light shines on it, which react with acid in the mouth to break down plaque as well as kills off bacteria that contribute to periodontal disease. This new model powers that reaction with a solar panel attached to the base. If there's enough light in the room to run a solar-powered calculator, then there's enough light in the room to brush your teeth.

We'll wait and see how the teens fare, but if this thing works, would you use it? Or will you be sticking with the traditional bristles-on-a-stick and some baking soda mixed with a drop of peroxide? Sometimes low tech sounds far more appealing than gadgetry, even if it does mean eliminating at least one item from your shopping list.

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