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Japanese tooth patch may reduce decay › News in Science (ABC Science)

Posted in health with tags , , , on September 17, 2012 by SpenceG

Scientists have created a microscopically thin film that can coat individual teeth to prevent decay or to make them appear whiter.

The “tooth patch” is a hard-wearing and ultra-flexible material made from hydroxyapatite, the main mineral in tooth enamel that could also mean an end to sensitive teeth.

“This is the world’s first flexible apatite sheet, which we hope to use to protect teeth or repair damaged enamel,” says Professor Shigeki Hontsu of the Kinki University’s Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology in Japan.

“Dentists used to think an all-apatite sheet was just a dream, but we are aiming to create artificial enamel,” the outermost layer of a tooth, he says.

Researchers can create film just 0.004 millimetres thick by firing lasers at compressed blocks of hydroxyapatite in a vacuum to make individual particles pop out.

These particles fall onto a block of salt which is heated to crystallise them, before the salt stand is dissolved in water.

The film is scooped up onto filter paper and dried, after which it is robust enough to be picked up by a pair of tweezers.

via Japanese tooth patch may reduce decay › News in Science (ABC Science).

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