Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Shell extract helps rebuild pearly whites
Chemistry World ^ | 10 April 2013 | Emma Stoye

Posted on 04/12/2013 8:25:59 PM PDT by neverdem

Researchers in China have shown that the organic component of mother of pearl can help repair damaged teeth, by acting as a template for the mineralisation of tooth enamel.

Tooth enamel is made up of rod-like crystals of hydroxyapatite, a calcium phosphate mineral. It is the hardest tissue in the body, but is susceptible to erosion by food and bacterial acids. Once gone, it never naturally reforms, and cavities must be fixed using manmade materials. Methods of artificially rebuilding enamel often involve extreme temperature, pressure or pH conditions that make them impractical for clinical use.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Fujian Medical University, both in Fuzhou, are working towards a more feasible solution using the natural composite, nacre (mother of pearl), from the inside of mollusc shells.

Nacre is composed of layers of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate, separated by an organic matrix of proteins and biopolymers called the Water Soluble Matrix (WSM). The WSM acts as a template for aragonite crystal growth during nacre formation, so the researchers thought it might also be able to influence the structure of hydroxyapatite crystals in enamel. They tested this using extracted human molars that had been deliberately damaged with a strong acid.

The teeth were immersed in a solution containing the isolated nacre WSM from mussel shells, along with calcium and phosphate ions, for three days. Scanning electron microscope images revealed that hydroxyapatite crystals with the correct shape and orientation formed on the surface of the tooth. The new ‘enamel’ was also similar to the real thing in terms of smoothness and hardness. Without the WSM, the crystals that formed were randomly orientated.

‘Our study demonstrates that WSM is an effective template for hydroxyapatite remineralisation,’ says Zanyong Zhuang, one of the researchers involved. ‘It is much cheaper and easier to extract than other protein templates, and is a natural agent that would be physiologically safe in clinical restoration.’

Zhuang admits, however, that there are many other things to consider when dealing with teeth in situ. Paul Anderson from the Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London, UK, agreed that further experimentation is needed. ‘This work is intriguing,’ he says, ‘but the mechanism of enamel growth has been well studied, and the [template] mechanism proposed here seems to contradict that. Clinical enamel repair is still a very long way off.’


X Li et al, CrystEngComm, 2013, DOI: 10.1039/c3ce26947g

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: enamel; health; motherofpearl; nacre; teeth; watersolublematrix
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-25 last
To: Wonder Warthog

I wonder about the nacre (mother of pearl) component. I was told how fragile nacre was (on cultured and natural pearls): never expose it to acid, it will damage the surface. Can you eat a salad with vinaigrette dressing and expect to keep teeth mended with this new process?

21 posted on 04/14/2013 8:08:20 PM PDT by thecodont
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: TribalPrincess2U
#12 & 16 - I have brushed with baking soda / #19 - baking powder = typo?

Do you have an opinion on using baking soda? - by gleeaikin

Beware - do research... Yes, it makes your teeth & mouth feel real clean & fresh.

However, one forum comment I read said that it is wearing down the enamel on your teeth, and to only use it once a week.

Ixquick the world's most private search engine - fwiw...

Baking soda teeth => There appears to be many positive responses, but I see this one:

Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda - Buzzle ** - Proxy - Highlight

Brushing teeth with baking soda is touted to be the safest and the cheapest method of teeth whitening. However, chronic use of baking soda is also known to ...

"conduce wearing of teeth enamel. Benefits / Steps and Guidelines vs. Is Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda Bad? ... "

Click the Link! = ... and Vinegar / Strawberry / Hydrogen Peroxide / "baking soda doesn't kill bacteria " / more...

22 posted on 04/14/2013 10:58:52 PM PDT by Computer Central
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: gleeaikin
Correction: Do you have an opinion on using baking soda? - by gleeaikin by TribalPrincess2U

gleeaikin - Please see post 22, for TribalPrincess2U and gleeaikin, and all.

23 posted on 04/14/2013 11:15:20 PM PDT by Computer Central
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: thecodont
Which is another reason why including the components in toothpaste is a logical approach. You brush your teeth (hopefully) multiple times a day. You would not eat highly acidic foods nearly as often. So "repair time" should exceed "damage time" by a large factor.
24 posted on 04/15/2013 4:20:13 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Computer Central

Thank you

25 posted on 04/15/2013 7:05:38 AM PDT by TribalPrincess2U (0bama's agenda¬óDivide and conquer seems to be working.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-25 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson