Consider the beaver.
These toothy rodents don’t brush their teeth, visit a dentist office for dental cleanings or drink fluoridated water. Yet despite their lack of access to our modern-day dental technologies, they have some of the strongest teeth in the animal kingdom.
Believe it or not, humans can learn a thing or two from the beaver and how to keep our own tooth enamel strong.
According to a February 12 Phys.org article, beavers’ teeth have extra protection due to the fact that the chemical construction of their enamel contains iron. This enamel is both tougher and more resistant to tooth decay. Northwestern University scientists believe studying it could help us better understand human tooth decay, allowing us to detect decay earlier and improve our dental cleanings and fluoride treatments.
All humans are born with a layer of enamel that covers our teeth; it’s the hardest surface in the entire body and protects the teeth from decay and damage. However, many people wear away their enamel by drinking acidic drinks like soda or eating too much citrus fruit. When the enamel is stripped away, it never grows back — and this in turn makes teeth highly vulnerable to bacteria growth and decay. As a result, tooth decay is one of the biggest public health concerns. As many as 60 to 90% of children and almost 100% of adults have had dental cavities at some point in their lives.
For years, scientists have had difficulties studying enamel, as it’s a highly complex, amorphous structure, Phys.org reports. The Northwestern University study is the first to reveal the exact structure and composition of tooth enamel. These incredible findings will open up doors to improved dental treatments that help preserve our enamel and keep our teeth protected from decay.
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