What Nature’s Teeth Can Teach Us

Did you know that, besides diamonds, the enamel around your teeth is the most resilient, naturally-occurring substance on earth? This may surprise people who already know that tooth enamel is also as brittle as glass. Its unique construction has spurred NASA scientists to study its molecular formation as inspiration for the next wave of air and spacecraft engineering. While good dental health can often be relatively simple, human and animal teeth are a lot more interesting than you may think.

Amazing Teeth

  • Your third set of molars, or wisdom teeth, have the potential to do more than just throw your smile’s harmony into disarray. Scientists have discovered that wisdom teeth contain a wealth of “blank” cells that can be used in the formation of stem cells. The discovery is a boon to experts studying the possibilities of stem cells, including the ability to bioengineer our own replacement teeth.
  • Unlike humans, mice possess incisors (front teeth) that continuously grow throughout their lifetimes. If they don’t constantly gnaw on things, their teeth would grow too large for their mouths. Scientists have studied the stem cells responsible for mice incisors’ lifelong growth in hopes of mimicking the process to allow humans to grow their own replacement teeth.
  • An alligator’s teeth don’t grow continuously, like a mouse’s, but all 80 of them can be replaced up to 50 times within the alligator’s lifespan. The reptile’s teeth are situated in sockets in the jawbone, similar to human teeth, and researchers believe they’re ideal comparisons to study tooth regeneration that might be applied to future restorative dental care.
  • Sharks never develop cavities. While human teeth are covered by super-resilient tooth enamel, shark teeth are coated in fluoride, an active ingredient in most toothpaste brands. The mineral compound is slightly different than the fluoride commonly used for human hygiene, and researchers believe shark teeth may hold clues to improving our own cavity prevention methods.

Learn How to Take Care of Your Teeth

To learn more about the amazing world of your teeth and how to properly take care of them, call Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, today at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of Chicago and all surrounding communities.

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