Materials scientists drill down to vulnerabilities involved in human tooth decay
Enamel formation study could lead to new interventions to prevent and treat disease and defects
Researchers have cracked one of the secrets of tooth decay. The materials scientists are the first to identify a small number of impurity atoms in human enamel that may contribute to the material's strength but also make it more soluble. They also are the first to determine the spatial distribution of the impurities with atomic-scale resolution. The discovery could lead to a better understanding of human tooth decay as well as genetic conditions that affect enamel formation.