HKU Faculty of Dentistry develops a mouth guard device with micro-mist injection for improving oral condition of elderly and disabled people

With an aim to improve the oral hygiene for elderly people and people with disabilities or dysphagia, so as to boost their confidence to enjoy speaking and smiling, as well as pleasure to enjoy eating, the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong has initiated a project called “Plaque cleaning apparatus using dental acrylic 3-D printing technique by micro-mist injection for elderly and disabled” to help the groups clean their oral cavity safely and effectively.

The Project is supported with a grant from the Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living (”FBL”) under the Innovation and Technology Bureau. Under the project, a novel apparatus adopting micro-scale mist to remove plaque in the oral cavity has been designed and developed. A personalised 3D-printed mouth guard device that contains an air and water channel for cleaning the tooth plaque with minimal amount of water is connected to the micro scale mist apparatus. With this technology, the oral hygiene of the user can be improved with minimal risk of bacterial infection and aspiration caused by rinsing. In view of the ageing population in Hong Kong, oral hygiene maintenance of elderly people is becoming an essential issue. Improvement of oral hygiene encourages social participation of elderly people and leads to better physical and psychological health, and thus enhances their quality of life.

The project will be rolled out in the fourth quarter of 2020. A prototype of the mouthpiece device with micro-scale mist injection function has been developed. Clinical trial will be conducted soon. Data and feedback collected will serve to identify future directions for improving this new device. The Faculty of Dentistry hopes this new initiative will benefit elderly and disabled people in the community.

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