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Tuesday, 25th September 2012
In General Japan News,

Japanese researchers create tooth patch with potential to whiten smile

People across the globe could have access to whiter smiles in as soon as three years with the development of a new "tooth patch" designed by Japanese scientists.

The innovation is a robust and ultra-flexible sheet that could also help people with sensitive teeth, the AFP reported.

According to Shigeki Hontsu, a professor at Kinki University's faculty of biology-oriented science technology, this is first time the world can welcome a "flexible apatite sheet".

The sheet, measuring just 0.004 millimetres thick, is made from the main mineral in tooth enamel known as hydroxyapatite.

Lasers were aimed at compressed blocks of the mineral in a vacuum to make individual particles pop out, thereby falling onto a separate block of salt which was heated to crystallise the components.

The salt cube was then dissolved in water, leaving behind a dried tooth patch that is durable enough to withstand the touch of a pair of tweezers.

Professor Hontsu was quoted by the news provider as saying: "Dentists used to think an all-apatite sheet was just a dream, but we are aiming to create artificial enamel."

Those with dental worries needn't rush to their nearest dentist, however, as the technology is not set to be fully completed for five years, although it could be available for cosmetic purposes in just 36 months.

The professor explained to the AFP how the sheet becomes invisible when it is placed on the tooth and is barely visible when put under a light, yet there is the potential to make it white for brightening yellowed smiles.

Still, the development is not without its flaws as currently the sheet is taking a full day to stick properly to teeth, with Professor Hontshu himself testing it out.

So while Japanese researchers continue to work on a marketable product, those worried about the whiteness of their teeth will have to rely on other options for a few years at least.

Posted by Graham McPherson