There are some pretty basic guidelines dentists give us about brushing: take a couple minutes instead of rushing through, flossing helps,, make sure you get all the sides of all your teeth, rinse when you’re done, and brush every day, no matter what kind of toothbrush you use.

Unless you’re using a swarm of teeth-cleaning micro-robots.

To be clear, these aren’t little droids flying in and out of your mouth to remove gunk.

University of Pennsylvania researchers are developing a teeth cleaning system out of iron oxide nanoparticles that can produce antimicrobials.

Because they’re magnetic, they can be guided through a person’s mouth.

The researchers say they’re programmable and could even be personalized for individuals.

Because they’re small, they can sometimes act the way floss does and sometimes act like the bristles on a toothbrush.

We’re learning more and more than good dental health is a big part of good overall health.

So a system like this could help the people who maybe aren’t brushing and flossing regularly, or maybe aren’t doing it as thoroughly as they should.

The researchers think this system could be especially useful for patients who for a variety of reasons can’t use a toothbrush on their own.

And that would definitely be something to smile about.

If you’re not sure yet about robotic teeth brushing, how about 3D printed teeth brushing?

Blizzbrush is an antimicrobial sponge made of silicone and shaped kind of like a mouth guard.

The makers say if you bite and grind the sponge for just ten seconds it’s as good as brushing your teeth.

Shapeshifting microrobots can brush and floss teeth (University of Pennsylvania)

3D printed ‘blizzbrush 5.0 toothbrush-sponge’ cleans entire mouth in just 10 seconds (designboom)

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photo by Andy Wright via Flickr/Creative Commons