A new smartphone app has been launched by a graduate from the University of Bath that can scan dental plaque and flag potential oral hygiene issues.
The Testmyteeth app enables users to measure the levels of plaque build-up on their teeth and identify areas where users are failing to brush adequately, which is one of the primary causes of dental disease.
The app was developed by James Russ, an Integrated Design Engineering graduate, with support from the University’s Enterprise and Entrepreneurship programme.
The university programme helps staff, students, graduates, and local entrepreneurs with their entrepreneurial ambitions.
James Russ said: “I was in my first year of university when I had trouble with my wisdom tooth – the treatment ended up costing over £100 of my limited student budget.
“This was particularly frustrating as it could have been easily prevented had I taken better care of my oral hygiene. It inspired my vision for a dental app to assist patients at home.”
He set to work on the Testmyteeth app after completing an industrial placement in the design and development team at innovative household appliances manufacturer Dyson, an experience he said was “fast-paced and exciting”.
He continued: “Oral disease affects around 3.5 billion people worldwide and I thought it would be great to have an app that focuses on the preventative side of dentistry.
“Using AI, Testmyteeth will tell you areas where you have missed when brushing and highlight plaque accumulation.
“More than that, we’ll also provide educational guides on how to improve your brushing technique and what the early signs of tooth decay and gum disease look like.”
While his studies helped with the practical side of building an app, Russ developed his business acumen through opportunities such as Dragons’ Den, part of the University’s Enterprise offering.
Students pitch their start-up to a panel of alumni donors for investment but, unlike the television show, there are no equity or stakes taken.
He said the experience gave him the confidence and the means to turn Testmyteeth into a reality.
James added: “Since graduating, I was granted a University of Bath Alumni Innovation Award and that’s been a game-changer. It enabled me to work on the business full-time, teach myself full-stack app development, and build the AI which drives the app.
“The support has made such a huge difference to what I’ve been able to achieve in a year.”