(The artificial mouth, Lisa Wong and Chris Sissons, and a 21 day old plaque)
At the University of Otago, Wellington, there's an artificial mouth with saliva. It's given meals, occasionally it even has teeth, and was developed by the Dental Research Group to study up to 12 different plaques under different test conditions. For example, the system can be fed with different frequencies of sucrose or different mouthwashes, to determine the impact on the bacteria in the plaque. The result of allowing plaque to build up on teeth can be tooth decay or gum disease, but it is also associated with many other health problems. Ruth Beran went to see the artificial mouth herself and talks with Lisa Wong and Chris Sissons, who heads the Dental Research Group.