In the future, we will all be brushing our teeth without toothpaste. And, no, we won't be reverting to using rock salt either. At least, that's if the Soladey-J3X, a toothbrush that generates its own cleaning chemicals using solar power, actually works.
Designed by University of Saskatchewan's Dr. Kunio Komiyama and Dr. Gerry Uswak, the device takes the shape of any conventional toothbrush, so it should fit in whatever rack you usually keep your toiletries. Instead of just using the long body as a handle, though, it's got some clever tech installed that allows it to produce a chemical reaction that can clean teeth even when you forget to grab a tube of Sensodyne from the grocery.
The Soladey-J3X has a solar panel installed in the base that transmits electron to the top of the toothbrush after taking in some amount of natural light (it requires just the same input as a solar-powered calculator). These electrons react with acid in the saliva, creating the powerful reaction that's said to effectively break down plaque and kill mouth bacteria.
A Japanese company called Shiken is manufacturing the toothbrushes and will be holding trials with 120 teenagers to demonstrate how well it works compared to conventional brushing methods. They have previously concluded testing the device in cultures of bacteria that cause periodontal disease, showing it completely destroying the cells, just like a good toothpaste formula.
No word yet on plans beyond that, but a toothbrush that will save me from buying toothpaste ever again does sound like a neat idea.