When it comes to keeping your pearly whites in good shape, one of the most important things is to preserve your enamel. If you lose that protective coating, your teeth will get sensitive, and there's no way to get it back. At least until now. A newly developed material could be used as an impervious shield on your chompers.
Hydroxyapatite, a biomaterial, has always been attractive for use in repairing bones and teeth, but it tends to be inflexible, which makes it difficult to apply to teeth. Now, Japanese researchers have found a way to make it more pliable, enough so that it could be a 0.00016-inch thin, practically invisible barrier that's basically shrink-wrapped around your pearly whites.
There are all kinds of practical benefits to this. In addition to being used to repair enamel, it can be used to protect it before it's eroded by acid and sugar. And while the stuff that's been tested on disembodied human teeth has been clear, it could also come in a nice shade of white. The stuff still has to undergo some testing, but it could be available for cosmetic dentistry in as little as three years, and for more practical purposes in five. [AFP via Medical Daily]