The scientists from Northwestern University who studies beaver tooth enamel have discovered that beaver teeth enamel possesses some outstanding qualities.
Beavers are known for their strong teeth and excellent building skills, but until now scientists didn’t know what exactly made the beavers’ teeth so strong. So strong, in fact, that beavers simply are immune to cavities.
The researchers, who published their study in the Frontiers in Psychology journal, have found that beaver tooth enamel actually contains iron and it is this iron that makes their teeth so incredibly strong and immune to cavities and decay.
The enamel is the tissue that covers human and animal teeth and it is the toughest one in the human body. It is also highly resistant to acids, but when too much acid gets deposited on the tooth, it can dissolve the enamel, making the teeth susceptible to cavities and much more sensitive to heat, and cold air.
All enamel is made from microscopic poles that are woven and stacked together. These tiny poles are made of a calcium apatite, called hydroxyapatite, and are encased in a layer of magnesium and iron, which is what makes enamel so resistant against acid.
Researchers studied the tooth enamel of three animals, among which was the beaver. They analyzed the structure of the enamel with a tool that provides high-res images of the enamel’s ionic and atomic composition. It was revealed that the incisors of beavers are rich in iron, which is why one of the reasons why beavers have brown incisors.
Derk Joester, lead author of the study and a researcher at Northwestern University, said that a beaver’s teeth are not structurally different from our own teeth, but chemically different. With this in mind, researchers believe that innovations in the dentistry field could be made so that humans would never have to experience a cavity ever again.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 100% of adults all over the world have or have had cavities, at one point in their lives.
Image Source: Animal-Kid