Straight from the horse’s mouth: oral hygiene is crucial from the perspective of your overall health. As poor oral health leaves you susceptible to over 200 chronic diseases, it makes sense to make the mouth a big priority in healthcare. Startup Koite Health launches an exciting new product in June 2020 in order to accomplish just that.
A team of Finnish dentists, doctors, chemists, semiconductor specialists, biomedical scientists, and geneticists have successfully developed an entirely new type of antibacterial method for dental hygiene. The effect of the product is based on antibacterial photodynamic reaction, meaning that light activates the antibacterial effect of the mouthwash.
“We are calling it hi-tech mouthwash,” says co-founder, CEO Sakari Nikinmaa from Koite Health.
We’re calling it hi-tech mouthwash.
Light is the magic ingredient here: without it, the mouthwash has no effect. Nikinmaa explains that the photodynamic reaction is known in dentistry, but its practical implementation has been both cumbersome and expensive. Then Tommi Pätilä, assistant professor of Pediatric Heart Surgery and Organ Transplantation, got to talking with Nikinmaa a few years ago as part of the Biodesign Finland project.
Biodesign Finland provides boost
This meeting of the minds was exactly what Biodesign Finland was created for in the first place. It is based on the Biodesign concept (developed by Stanford University), which supports the formation of interdisciplinary teams. Brimming with diversity and armed with the skills to solve complex medical problems, these teams are able to develop technology that is ripe to be commercialized.
Tommi Pätilä had come up with the initial concept of the photoactivated method around 2014, but the idea was left on a back-burner for a while. As a heart surgeon, Pätilä knew only too well the implications of poor oral health to general health. Pätilä met Aalto University researcher Sakari Nikinmaa in connection to the Biodesign Finland project in 2016 and pitched him the idea.
“We probably wouldn’t even have met without our involvement in Biodesign Finland,” Nikinmaa looks back. “Once Tommi told me of the concept, I was very impressed right away and convinced that the potential of the product would be considerable.”