Brushing your teeth well and regularly is an important part of your oral hygiene routine. And as easy as it may seem, most of us don’t brush our teeth as well as we should. Is it as harmless as you hope it is? No, it definitely isn’t. Luckily, this smart toothbrush designed by Ameya Mehendale, who graduated from the master’s program in chemical engineering at Northeastern University, might just be the fix.
“How do you know when it’s time to stop brushing?” You don’t, says Mehendale. To combat the quandary, he came up with an idea for a smart toothbrush that could tell you until when a person needs to keep brushing their teeth. It would work in conjunction with fluorescent toothpaste that adheres to bacteria and glows when shone with certain wavelengths of light. That light would shine from an LED on the smart toothbrush’s head, according to Mehendale, and the fluorescence would be detected with a sensor beside it. When most of the bacteria have been washed away, the fluorescence would cease and a red light on the toothbrush handle would turn green, indicating that brusher’s teeth are clean.
“You could be in your kitchen brushing your teeth. You don’t need to look in the mirror,” Mehendale said. “You don’t see the fluorescence, because it’s detected by the toothbrush.” He and his team of five other engineering students spent three days holed up in Snell Engineering Center fleshing out the details of the toothbrush for the Entrepreneurs Club’s annual Engineers for the Greater Good event. Their product was also backed by some market research done by the students, determined market costs and its scope. The toothbrush was named the first-place winner at the event with prize money of $1,500. Backed by the prize money to get the project off the ground, Mehendale added that he is eager to take it to the next stage.