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Toothbrushes could be replaced by shape-shifting micro-robots which scrub, rinse and floss your gnashers without any manual effort.

Scientists have developed the technology to make it easier for older or disabled people to keep their teeth clean.

The micro-robots are made of iron oxide nanoparticles that create a chemical reaction in the mouth, releasing antimicrobials to kill off plaque.

They are directed using a magnetic field and can form bristle-like structures that sweep away plaque from the broad surfaces of the teeth, or elongated strings to slip between the gaps like floss.

Experiments on fake and real human teeth found they can eliminate nearly all biofilms that lead to cavities and gum disease.

The magnetic field can be tuned to control the motions of the microbots and stiffness and length of the bristles.

Researchers say it can be adapted to fit the shape of individual mouths without damaging gums.

Professor Hyun Koo, from the University of Pennsylvania, said: “This technology is as or more effective as brushing and flossing but doesn’t require dexterity. We believe it will disrupt and maj­­orly advance oral healthcare.”