Red Light Therapy Suppresses Dental Plaque Formation in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Source: National Library of Medicine

The quest for improved dental care methods has led to innovative approaches that go beyond traditional brushing and flossing. One such innovation, antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT) using red light therapy, has shown promising results in the fight against dental plaque. This blog explores how red light therapy can be a game-changer in oral health care.

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy involves the use of low wavelength red light, which is believed to offer a variety of therapeutic effects. In the context of dental health, this light is used in combination with a photosensitizing agent to target and destroy harmful bacteria that can lead to dental plaque.

The Science Behind Red Light Therapy for Dental Plaque

A significant study by Ichinose-Tsuno et al., published in BMC Oral Health, sheds light on the efficacy of red light therapy in dental care . In this randomized controlled trial, the researchers explored the impact of aPDT, utilizing a combination of toluidine blue O (TBO) and a red light-emitting diode (LED), on the formation of dental plaque.

Positive Outcomes from the Study

  1. Effective Plaque Reduction: The study revealed that aPDT significantly suppressed the formation of dental plaque in healthy adults. This was achieved through the targeted killing of Streptococcus oralis, a primary bacterium responsible for plaque formation.
  2. Safety and Comfort: Unlike some invasive dental procedures that can cause discomfort, red light therapy was noted for its safety and non-invasiveness. The therapy did not harm the teeth or surrounding tissues, making it a comfortable option for patients.
  3. Prevention of Antibiotic Resistance: The use of red light therapy helps in reducing the reliance on antibiotics for managing oral infections, thereby mitigating the risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Why Consider Red Light Therapy?

  • Non-Invasive: Unlike surgical interventions, red light therapy is a non-invasive method that reduces the risk of infection and other complications.
  • Pain-Free: This therapy does not cause pain, making it suitable for patients who are sensitive to dental procedures.
  • Convenient: With advancements in technology, red light devices are becoming more accessible, potentially allowing for home use in the future.

Future of Red Light Therapy in Dentistry

As research evolves, the scope of red light therapy in dentistry is expected to expand. Further studies could establish standardized protocols and explore the long-term benefits of this technology. With its ability to integrate seamlessly into daily oral hygiene routines, red light therapy could soon become a cornerstone in preventive dental care.


Red light therapy presents a bright future for dental health management. Its ability to effectively reduce dental plaque while being a safe and patient-friendly option underscores its potential as a valuable addition to traditional dental care practices. As we continue to witness advancements in dental technology, red light therapy stands out as a promising tool in maintaining oral health.

For those interested in a deeper dive into the scientific underpinnings and results of the study on red light therapy, you can access the full research article here.


  1. Ichinose-Tsuno et al. 2014. Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy suppresses dental plaque formation in healthy adults: a randomized controlled clinical trial. BMC Oral Health. DOI:10.1186/1472-6831-14-152.

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