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Severe Dental Problems in Children on the Rise: Finnish Innovation Keeps Tooth Decay at Bay

Severe Dental Problems in Children on the Rise: Finnish Innovation Keeps Tooth Decay at Bay

According to Swedish researchers, up to 20% of children have a particularly virulent strain of Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) in their mouths, which has a greater-than-usual ability to cause severe tooth decay. Finnish health technology company Koite Health Oy – named one of the hottest European startups in 2022 – has launched a method for targeted removal of dental plaque to improve children’s declining oral health.

Lumoral Junior – is the latest technology on the market for improved oral health self-care developed to suit children's needs. Lumoral Junior improves children's oral care and provides a good starting point for oral health even in adulthood. The method was developed by Finnish researchers with the aim of eliminating harmful bacteria in the mouth to treat and prevent oral diseases.

Oral diseases differ from many other diseases in that they are largely preventable. Despite this, caries and gingivitis are very common diseases even in children. By influencing oral conditions through diet, oral hygiene and fluoride, children can be assured of good oral health through relatively simple daily activities. 

– Oral health is a balance between the factors that protect against disease and those that make it possible to contract it. Regular eating habits, thorough mechanical brushing of teeth to remove bacteria from the mouth and regular use of fluoride all protect against tooth decay, says Heikki Alapulli, a paediatric dentist at the New Children's Hospital of HUS (Finland's largest health care provider).

Frequent consumption of high-carbohydrate foods or sugary drinks combined with poor oral hygiene are factors that contribute to dental and oral diseases. This is where the Lumoral Junior – an antibacterial oral cleaning method developed for children's needs – comes in helpful.

– We see a lot of young children with very bad teeth at our hospital. Any new ways to improve the self-care of children's teeth are therefore very welcome, Alapulli says.

Keeping oral bacteria under control

S. mutans is one of the most common bacterial species causing tooth decay. Good oral hygiene is essential to prevent these bacteria from multiplying and damaging a child's sensitive teeth. Careful mechanical brushing of teeth and the use of fluoride toothpaste are the foundation of children's oral hygiene. But even the most effective mechanical brushing is not always enough.

Lumoral Junior improves children's oral self-care and is particularly suitable for children who are prone to caries, have incipient caries or have a high S. mutans bacteria population in the mouth.

In a Swedish study published in 2017, up to 20% of children observed had a particularly virulent strain of S. mutans in their mouths. This has a greater-than-normal ability to attach to teeth surfaces, to tolerate acidic conditions in the mouth and cause more severe cases of caries, thus, challenging traditional caries methods.

– Antibacterial oral care does not replace traditional oral self-care, i.e., brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing, but the approach can inspire and enable children and parents to take better care of their teeth, says Alapulli.

The main responsibility for keeping children's teeth clean always lies with the adults – at least until the third grade of primary school, Alapulli notes.

– As children's hand motor skills develop, the responsibility for cleaning their teeth can gradually be transferred to them. But the child's oral hygiene must be monitored throughout primary school right up to the age of 12-13.

Heikki Alapulli, a paediatric dentist at the New Children's Hospital of HUS (Finland's largest health care provider)

Antibacterial treatment works when mechanical brushing is not enough

Lumoral Junior reduces plaque formation and can be used to prevent oral bacterial diseases such as tooth decay and gingivitis. It can also be used to prevent oral mucositis caused by chemotherapy. The device is intended for regular use. Recommended use for the prevention of tooth decay is at least twice a week.

Lumoral Junior is intended for children over 3 years of age – the typical age group for use of the device is children aged 4-12 years. Lumoral Junior is only intended to be used in combination with the light-activated Lumorinse mouth rinse that attaches to the plaque of the teeth.

– Lumoral Junior improves children's self-care of their teeth even when traditional methods are not enough or when an existing oral disease requires more than just mechanical brushing and flossing, says Tommi Pätilä, a surgeon at HUS New Children's Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, and one of the developers of the antibacterial oral care method.

– Mechanical teeth cleaning methods are the key to good oral health. However, it is important to remember that brushing only removes 50-60% of plaque at best. The Lumoral Junior antibacterial method is a very effective yet gentle way of removing plaque. It also slows down the formation of new plaque, Pätilä continues.

Tommi Pätilä, a surgeon at HUS New Children's Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, and one of the developers of the antibacterial oral care method.

Good oral health protects the heart

It is important that the child's permanent teeth can develop without having been infected by caries. This makes it very likely that the child will continue to have good oral health in the future. Studies show that it also protects the child from cardiovascular disease in adulthood as well.

– Later in life, a heart attack occurs when the blood supply is cut off from the heart muscle, usually because of a blood clot.  Researchers found dental bacteria in most of these clots.  Thus, the importance of good oral health in managing the risk of heart disease cannot be overemphasized, Pätilä explains.

Alapulli points out that many long-term illnesses are associated with an increased risk of oral disease and that most oral diseases originate in dental biofilms. Dental biofilm is precisely where the antibacterial effect of Lumoral Junior targets.

Alapulli adds that in addition to tooth decay, gingivitis is also common in children if teeth are not cleaned thoroughly enough. Good oral health is also good for the treatment of underlying diseases. However, poor oral hygiene in childhood can be a step on the road to serious gum disease in adulthood, known as periodontitis.

– Habits learned early in life are more likely to be maintained during adulthood and children quickly learn that brushing their teeth every morning and evening is part of their daily routine. It is vital to prevent dental disease especially in children with underlying health conditions. For instance, children with heart conditions are at a higher risk of developing caries. Good oral hygiene is also one of the most important steps in preventing endocarditis, an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart's chambers and valves.

According to Alapulli, one of the major advantages of antibacterial treatment is that it is selective. Lumoral Junior targets hidden plaque on the teeth without disrupting normal oral flora. This is where Lumoral differs from oral anti-inflammatory antimicrobials such as chlorhexidine.

– Chemical mouthwashes also kill the good bacteria in the mouth, and with prolonged use, the mouth gets used to them, Alapulli explains.

– The use of Lumoral Junior facilitates the mechanical removal of biofilm in the child's mouth. It is, therefore, one key component of a thorough oral self-care routine to maintain children’s oral health.

Meet the Lumoral-team at the prestigious IDS Cologne 2023 dental show

Meet the Lumoral-team at the prestigious IDS Cologne 2023 dental show

Finnish health tech group Koite Health – named one of Europe’s hottest startup companies in 2022 – is proud to join the IDS Cologne event to showcase its Lumoral-method – an innovative technology designed to enhance oral home care for the prevention and treatment of gum diseases and dental caries. 

Lumoral is a cutting-edge medical device that is designed to improve oral hygiene and significantly improve oral health. Lumoral offers anti-inflammatory treatment for patients in various patient groups even those with difficult-to-treat oral conditions such as severe gum disease, periodontitis. Lumoral is scientifically proven to be the best available home care treatment for periodontal patients and implant maintenance.

IDS 2023 will be held from 14 to 18 March in Messe Cologne. The upcoming 40th International Dental Show is awaited by the dental sector for the plethora of networking, marketing and procurement opportunities it represents. 

  We believe that by attending IDS Cologne, we will have the opportunity to connect with industry leaders, exchange ideas and showcase our scientific results. Our team is excited to meet with attendees and share our passion for innovation and excellent patient outcomes, says Sakari Nikinmaa, CEO of Koite Health. 

Koite Health recently signed a distribution agreement with white cross GmbH, a German distribution and training company specializing in oral health prevention. Following the agreement white cross will focus their marketing efforts on over 55.000 dentistry professionals in the German market to promote the use of Lumoral. 

At the Koite Health stand, you can also meet professionals from the white cross team.  

Visit us at the IDS Cologne -event and see how our technology can revolutionize the ways you care for your patients. We look forward to seeing you there! 

Finnish health tech company Koite Health expands to Germany, signs Lumoral® accord with German expert in dental education

Finnish health tech company Koite Health expands to Germany, signs Lumoral® accord with German expert in dental education

Finnish health technology company Koite Health Oy has signed an agreement with German distribution and training company white cross GmbH. Following the agreement white cross will focus their marketing efforts on over 55.000 dentistry professionals in the German market to promote the use of Lumoral – the latest technology on the market for improved oral health self-care.

white cross GmbH is a respected leader in dentistry in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. With its training institute – praxisDienste Institut für Weiterbildung – white cross has been for the past 22 years market leader in Germany in the field of training dental prophylaxis specialists including prophylaxis assistants and dental hygienists.

white cross is responsible for educating one third of all new prophylaxis assistants and dental hygienists in Germany. In addition, the CEO of white cross also runs a private university – Medical School 11 – in Heidelberg, Germany, which educates health professionals through its B.Sc Dental Hygiene study program. The educational program of the praxisDienste Institut für Weiterbildung is offered in 11 major cities in Germany with Heidelberg being the administrative headquarter.

Lumoral – a cutting-edge technology

The agreement between Koite Health and white cross includes all activities necessary to launch a novel medical device and a new technology in the German market. Through training and education, the company seeks to ensure that dental professionals in the world’s second largest market are well informed about Lumoral so that they can recommend the treatment to patients.

– We have about 55.000 active dentists in Germany in addition to around 25.000–30.000 dental prophylaxis assistants and dental hygienists. Our mid-term goal is to see 10 percent of this target group becoming familiar with the Lumoral-treatment and actively recommending it to their patients based on the patients’ individual oral health risk profile, says Prof. Werner Birglechner, who leads both white cross and Medical School 11 private university.

Prof. Birglechner stresses that cutting edge technologies are essential for the company’s training and distribution business. Lumoral is such an innovation.

– Our customers expect that they are trained with the latest scientifically proven technologies. We strongly believe that this is the case for Lumoral.

Prof. Birglechner expects to see “a substantial customer base” among dental professionals and dental hygienists becoming promoters of Lumoral-treatment. These professionals are the key for the larger patient market.

Prof. Werner Birglechner, CEO of  white cross and Medical School 11 private university.

Lumoral is changing the future of dental care at home

Thorough dental care is the foundation for preventing and treating gum diseases like periodontitis. Effective mechanical brushing and flossing are often not enough. Treatment with Lumoral improves dental care, especially when traditional self-care is not enough, or when an oral disease requires more drastic measures than just brushing and cleaning.

Research shows that Lumoral’s antibacterial aPDT phototherapy effectively eliminates harmful bacteria in the mouth while treating advanced gum disease. Similar light-activated antibacterial treatments have been used in dental clinics, for example. However, the problem has been the cost and frequency of these treatments to provide sufficient efficacy. 

– We believe that the repeated and frequent aPDT helps to prevent and treat gum diseases such as parodontitis, and that there is sufficient clinical proof for the technology itself. The Dual-Light method of Lumoral helps to improve clinical results for the benefit of the patient. The recent clinical data we have seen in a controlled clinical trial that examines the treatment of periodontitis with Lumoral in comparison with the gold standard, are very convincing, says Prof. Birglechner.

white cross strives to provide patients with the best possible modern treatment for oral diseases.  The Lumoral-collaboration fits well with this goal.

Helping to keep oral health up to par

Germans are highly conscientious dental carers, with check-ups at least once a year, if not more. Dental appointments are usually easy to reserve in the country – even on the same day if necessary. This is unlike in Nordic countries where ques can be long especially in the public dental care sector.

According to Prof. Birglechner, caries prevalence in Germany is very low – among the lowest in the world – but gum disease, such as periodontitis, poses a major threat also to Germans. This is the case especially among middle-aged and older people. Moreover, because periodontitis can be present without showing any symptoms, in many cases the disease is left untreated. This creates a threat to patients’ overall health as periodontitis is scientifically proven to be linked with many systemic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, malignant cancers – even Alzheimer’s disease.

– Together with our team we have developed recommendations and patient profiles where and how Lumoral should be used.  The frequency and the intensity of the Lumoral use varies depending on the individual risk.

Prof. Birglechner adds that the key target groups are patients with a higher risk for caries or periodontitis. These include patients undergoing orthodontic treatment, patients with a high health consciousness, elderly patients with limited motor abilities as well as competitive athletes.

– We will start first sales activities by the end of January and intensify the activities during the year.

Sakari Nikinmaa, Koite Health’s CEO, the partnership agreement’s benefits are mutual. Partnership with Prof. Werner Birglechner and white cross GmbH is an important step for Lumoral’s geographical expansion from Nordics to Central Europe. 

– Our strategy is to partner with industry leaders to raise awareness among professionals about the Lumoral product and its benefits and to build global sales structure to secure product availability globally.

– Prof. Birglechner and his team have excellent resources, and they are experts in educating new solutions to the dental segment. We see them as a perfect partner in building a presence in the second biggest dental market globally. By working together, we can take oral health to a new level and provide patients with the best possible treatment experience and outcomes, says Nikinmaa.

Sakari Nikinmaa, Koite Health’s CEO.