Here’s our latest pick of the most interesting and useful health and wellness stories from across the Internet.
Teeth have a natural ability to repair themselves, according to researchers at Inserm and Paris Descartes University. The team has isolated the stem cells that are responsible for dental regeneration, and now hope to discover therapeutic strategies that can “mobilize dental stem cells and magnify their natural capacity for repair.”
The study was published in the journal Stem Cells. Among its findings are those dental stem cells having receptors for dopamine and serotonin on their surface. Their presence indicates that teeth are capable of receiving data from blood platelets which would be activated when a tooth is damaged or infected by bacteria. These neurotransmitters then issue instructions that would activate the body’s dental repair systems. The research team is now exploring ways that dentists might be able to utilize in order to activate the body’s own healing abilities.
University of Florida researchers recently learned that triceratops dinosaurs had self-sharpening teeth.
According to the university’s web site, the discovery came about when UF mechanical engineer Greg Sawyer got a call from a paleontologist, who said that no matter how much he polished triceratops teeth before putting them under a microscope, he couldn’t get them flat. Sawyer and his then-doctoral student Brandon Krick found that alternating layers of tissue in the teeth interacted to make them sharper rather than duller as they wore.
The adaptation isn’t just impressive for a prehistoric creature: their teeth were far more intricate than any reptile or mammal living today, Sawyer says.
Modern reptilian teeth are constructed in such a way that they are used mostly for seizing food—whether plant or animal—and then crushing it. The teeth do not occlude—or come together—like those of mammals. In essence they can’t chew. The teeth of most herbivorous mammals self-wear with use to create complex file surfaces for mincing plants.
Sawyer’s team also discovered that Triceratops teeth were made of five layers of tissue. In contrast, herbivorous horse and bison teeth, once considered the most complex ever to evolve, have four layers of tissue. Crocodiles and other reptiles have just two.
Self-Monitoring Teeth (via Smartphone)
Charles Michael Yim, a contestant on ABC’s TV show Shark Tank, convinced all five celebrity Sharks to invest one-million dollars into his smartphone breathalyzer product “Breeze.” Now he’s launching a second product using the same technology; “Mint” – which will measure your mouth’s bacteria and hydration levels to help people maintain better oral hygiene.
Mint shipped to those who contributed to the Idiegogo campaign for his company, Breathometer, which raised more than $94,000 to fund the product. The final version will be available to public in September, and is projected to earn nearly $20 million in sales by the end of 2015.
Breathometer is expected to announce a partnership with a major oral health care company very soon. It’s likely the app will connect with a high-tech tooth brush.
“The idea is to encourage better behavior than what you’re already doing, because 100 percent of people can improve their oral health care regimen,” says Yim.