Using squid ink to check for gum health

Scientists at the University of California have successfully developed a more accurate way of checking gum health that can be a good alternative for the periodontal probe method. This method includes washing the gums with squid ink.A periodontal probe is a tool that is used to check gum health. Usually, dentists or gum specialists put it under the gums at the base of each tooth. If the gum tissue is healthy, the probe may only go inside the gum about 1 or 2 millimeters, but not deeper. If the gum tissue is highly degenerated, a pocket is formed between the probe and the tooth surface and lets the probe to go in very deeply. The natural gingival groove around the tooth should be somewhere between 0 and 1 millimeter but in advanced gum disease, this groove becomes deeper. The deepening of this natural groove is a sign of the destruction of the connection between the gums and the teeth. In more advanced stages, it is because of the destruction of the bone around the teeth. Dentists or gum specialists can find out the extent of the problem by measuring the depth of this groove or pocket and the amount of possible bleeding. Not only is this method painful but it also takes a long time and sometimes makes gums bleed because the doctor has to check each tooth one by one. Besides, the results may vary because different dentists or gum specialists use different amounts of force on the probe.In the new method, patients wash their mouth with a liquid mixture of edible squid ink, water, and corn starch. Then the capillary action causes the liquid to go into the gum pockets and stay there even after rinsing the mouth.Capillary action is one of the physical phenomena caused by forces that stick to the surface. Then a light source, such as a laser pulse or an LED, is applied to the gums. This heats the melanin nanoparticles in squid ink that absorb light and creates an audible signal. This signal is identified by the ultrasound converter and creates an image of the pocket. After this, the ink can be removed from the gums with just one simple tooth brushing. So far, this technology has been successfully tested on a type of pig using a manual converter.However, researchers hope to make a piece of tooth that sends the light signal to all the teeth and then reads all the audio signals at the same time in the end. In this way, all envelopes can be displayed at the same time, and there is no doubt about their dimensions and depth.Researchers are planning to test this new technology on humans, although the composition of the ink must first be modified because it now tastes bitter and salty.