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Need a Reason to Smile?

Teeth Article

If I asked you to jot down a list of your top favorite activities, going to the dentist’s office would definitely not make that list. Being told that you need to floss better or, even worse, that you have a cavity, can be aggravating to say the least. Many dental problems arise from weak tooth enamel caused by soft drinks and sour candies, but what if there was a way to regenerate tooth enamel? A recent study published in Science details the engineering of artificial tooth enamel from biomaterials that mimic the strength and hardness of actual enamel.

Dental care can be expensive, so having the opportunity to buy a product that protects teeth from decay would be beneficial.

Tooth enamel is the hardest biological material in the human body. So why are we worried about regenerating it? Although enamel is extremely tough and able to withstand bodily stress, it is not made of living tissues. This means that it cannot be regenerated once it begins to wear away. Researchers in Beijing, China may have solved this problem by engineering an enamel-like substance from biomaterials that actually compares to the strength and toughness of tooth enamel. 

After examining the structure of tooth enamel and its mineralized properties, researchers constructed a similar substance with polyvinyl and hydroxyapatite. Polyvinyl is often used in packaging and contributes to the flexibility of medical tubing. Hydroxyapatite is a mineral that makes up much of a person’s bones and teeth. Together, polyvinyl and hydroxyapatite work to create an enamel-like substance that mimics the hardness, toughness and flexibility of real tooth enamel. This is important because teeth undergo immense stress and pressure each day from chewing. 

The next step will be to brush this substance onto the surface of teeth and observe the effects over time outside of the laboratory setting. Dental care can be expensive, so having the opportunity to buy a product that protects teeth from decay would be beneficial. There are countless ingredients in toothpastes that strengthen enamel, and while these ingredients are helpful, they only strengthen the enamel that is left. How nice would it be to eat a box of Sour Patch Kids and not have to think about your teeth suffering at the expense of a delicious candy.  

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