Beavers and the Key to Super-Teeth

A beaverDental implants Gainesville, FL dentist Dr. Altschuler wants to share with you some interesting new discoveries from the world of science. Anyone we have ever treated with dental implants has loved the results. Dental implants are strong, reliable and beautiful. However, like all medical treatments, their cost can become rather high if the patient needs multiple treatments. For those patients that are financing their own dental implants, we’re sure that if there were a way to avoid needing dental implants all together, they would take it. And as dental professionals we of course would prefer that our patients natural teeth stay as healthy as long as possible.

This is why a recent report submitted by a team of researchers at a Northwestern University has caught the eye of dentists around the world. It turns out that beavers have a built-in defence against tooth decay. Yep, that’s right people. Beavers have super. You might find yourself asking why the spotlight was drawn to beavers in the first place. Well, think about it. What do beavers do? They spend their entire lives chewing through incredibly hard substances like wood, never brush their teeth a single time, and will never undergo a single fluoride treatment. Even so, a beaver will die with incredibly strong teeth.

So whats the big idea? Why doesn’t their enamel wear down the way a human’s would if they spent even a few weeks chewing on wood everyday? How come humans got the short end of the enamel stick? And can we somehow tap into the superpowers of beaver teeth to make them our own?

Well, apparently the team of researchers who submitted the report felt as jilted by biology as we do because they went in search of just what makes beaver teeth so darn strong. And they hit gold. Well, actually they hit iron, because that’s whats making it possible for beaver teeth to go years chewing through wood and not wear down. Iron and magnesium, that is.

It appears that beaver teeth are from layers of  hydroxylapatite “nanowires.” However, this is not the part which allows them the super strength these chompers have. It’s in the material surrounding those nanowires that trace of amorphous minerals rich in iron and magnesium can be found.

“A beaver’s teeth are chemically different from ours, not structurally different,” Derk Joester, the team’s leading researcher, explains. “Biology has shown us a way to improve our enamel. The strategy of what we call ‘grain boundary engineering’ — focusing on the area surrounding the nanowires — lights the way in which we could improve our current treatment with fluoride.”

Huzzah science! A new and improved way to prevent tooth decay in humans may be on the horizon. All thanks to the furry little rodents known as beavers.

We hope you enjoyed this little tid-bit from the science world as much as we did. Maybe someday soon out teeth will be super-teeth as well!

Until next time readers, keep smiling.