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Researchers at the University of Washington in the USA have developed a mint tablet that does much more than just improves the breath. It can also make your teeth whiter and above all it can build up tooth enamel.
Tooth enamel can be corroded by acidic substances in, for example, soft drinks and acidic fruits. The body cannot recreate enamel, so if the damage to the teeth becomes too great the dentist must treat it by for example, placing a porcelain shell over it.
The mint contains a peptide, a chain of amino acids, together with phosphorus and calcium ions. The peptide is reminiscent of amelogenin, a protein that is involved in the creation of tooth enamel. The researchers have used genetic engineering to tailor the peptide so that it adheres to damaged tooth enamel without damaging the soft parts of the mouth.
One tablet a day should be able to protect against new damage to the enamel and two tablets every day can repair the damage that has already occurred. Fluorine can also protect against new damage, but unlike the tablet, it can not rebuild enamel that has already been destroyed. An extra advantage of the tablet, is that the new enamel becomes whiter than what current toothpastes and strips can achieve.
Today's treatments are also often based on nitrogen peroxide, which can weaken tooth enamel after prolonged use. The tablet instead gives stronger enamel while the teeth become whiter. At least this is the hope. So far, researchers have only tested the tablet on teeth that dentists have already extracted, but now clinical studies are just getting started. The hope is that the new tablet will reach the stores in a few years.