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New toothpaste could halt decay and help with sensitive teeth


A new toothpaste that contains tiny glass balls could help with dental conditions and stop decay from becoming a problem. The spheres, which are no wider than a human hair, are made up of calcium and phosphate – both of which the body needs to create the enamel and keep the teeth healthy. The product has been developed to repair tooth decay when a filling is not yet necessary.

The tiny glass balls were created by a team of dentists and scientists at Queen Mary, the University of London and they are designed to reinforce sections of weakened enamel or areas where the gum tissue has started to separate from the teeth. The spheres dissolve when they come into contact with moisture and the minerals inside are released – which normally takes under eight hours. This is not the first design of its kind, but the creators claim that their product dissolves eight times faster than similar designs and this makes it much more effective.

The glass that forms the shell around the minerals is called bioglass and it is biodegradable; it also has the ability to retain the calcium and phosphate while contained in the toothpaste, then release them when it comes into contact with saliva in the mouth. The team recently won a £25,000 prize for their innovation and is hoping to launch the product within the next two years.

Scientists use teeth to track migration patterns of early man


A team of dental scientists have used x-ray diffraction to study tooth development in order to track the migration of our ancestors; using a Magnetic Scattering machine – shortened to XMas – to analyse the tooth structure and composition, the dentists have been able to re-interpret archaeological records of the movements of ancient humans and are hoping to regrow teeth lost due to disease or damage with this information.

By studying the composition of the enamel, archaeologists can pinpoint the areas of soil that contain similar elements and track the patterns of migration all the way back to Neanderthal times. The variations can also show changes in eating habits that were brought about by the movement and changes in geological surroundings.

The team at Queen Mary’s University of London, led by dental physical scientist Maisoon Al-Jawad, have constructed two dimensional images of teeth belonging to children that lived during the early 19th century and in Anglo-Saxon England. Dr Al-Jawad said that this was ‘the first step towards a truly accurate four dimensional model of enamel growth that will allow scientists to more accurately interpret the movements and feeding habits of ancient people. What we have shown for the first time at XMas is the conventional understanding of how teeth mature – akin to the tree ring analogy – is too simplified.’

He went on to say that ‘With a complete and accurate model we can start to re-interpret the archaeological record and improve our understanding of how our ancestors moved around the world as well as providing important information to underpin future dental treatment.’

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