A new study suggests that the use of lasers to whiten teeth may actually lower the risk of cavities, a finding that may have important implications for the long-term use of toothpaste, toothbrushes and other products.
The researchers looked at a group of 3,000 people who had been treated for chronic gum disease using a laser-based whitening treatment.
Those who were treated with laser whitening had a 33 percent lower risk of developing cavities.
“We’re really excited that we can use a laser to whitener,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Richard S. O’Leary, a professor of dental medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“We don’t have to be a physician.
We don’t even have to have a doctorate.”
A group of scientists in Sweden also recently performed a similar study, and they reported that laser treatments reduced the risk for developing cavias by more than 50 percent.
The study was published Thursday in the Journal of the American Dental Association.
The American Dampening Association, the industry group for dental care products, has not yet responded to a request for comment.
In a statement, ADA said, “The ADA does not endorse or support laser treatments for dentistry.”
It added that the ADA “has consistently shown that laser treatment is safe and effective in the treatment of chronic gingivitis.”
“The use of a laser treatment in the dental field is supported by a growing body of scientific research,” the statement continued.
“The current guidelines are based on a consensus of scientific evidence, and should not be interpreted as endorsing the use or prevention of any particular treatment.”
It’s not clear whether the researchers’ findings apply to laser therapy alone, or whether they apply to lasers used in combination with other dental treatments.
The ADA also has not responded to requests for comment on whether other laser treatments, such as the laser treatment that Dr. O’tLeary uses, should be included in the same group.
The ADSA did not immediately respond to a question about whether its guidelines for laser treatment should be revised to exclude lasers used for other dental care.
In its statement, the ADSAs medical director, Dr .
David R. Reardon, said, “”In general, laser treatments have been shown to be effective in reducing the number of cavitations in the teeth, and the American Association of Dental Surgeons and the World Health Organization recommend using laser treatment to prevent cavities.
“In a separate statement, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the use and promotion of oral health products, said the agency does not comment on individual treatments.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that dental care can be a good way to prevent and treat cavities and that laser-therapy can help prevent or treat those diseases.