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Japan tooth patch could be end of decay

Published on Sep 16, 2012 3:47 PM
This undated handout picture, released from Japan's Kinki University's professor Shigeki Hontsu on Sept 6, 2012 shows a tooth-patch, an ultra thin biocompatible film made from hydroxyapatitte being placed on a front tooth at a laboratory in Kinokawa city in Wakayama prefecture, western Japan. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Scientists in Japan have created a microscopically thin film that can coat individual teeth to prevent decay or to make them appear whiter, the chief researcher said.

The "tooth patch" is a hard-wearing and ultra-flexible material made from hydroxyapatite, the main mineral in tooth enamel, that could also mean an end to sensitive teeth.

"This is the world's first flexible apatite sheet, which we hope to use to protect teeth or repair damaged enamel," said Dr Shigeki Hontsu, professor at Kinki University's Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology in western Japan.

"Dentists used to think an all-apatite sheet was just a dream, but we are aiming to create artificial enamel," the outermost layer of a tooth, he said earlier this month.

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