Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tooth Tattoo

A new "Tooth Tattoo" developed by Princeton nano-scientist Michael McAlphine and Tufts bio-engineersNature Communications.  The new technology is a ultra-thin oral sensor that measures bacteria levels in the mouth.  It is a small device temporarily attached to a tooth, and may one day help dentists with oral conditions and overall health.
Fiorenzo Omenetto, David Kaplan and Hu Tao was published in the journal

The senor has three layers; gold foil electrodes, a layer a graphene and a layer of peptides.  The peptide is the chemical structure that is able to indicate bacteria.  The sensor is soft and pliable enough to wrap around the irregular contours of tooth structures.  A silk backing dissolves within 15 to 20 minutes leaving the sensor.  It's a advantageous way to monitor the bacteria.

The senor has a built-in antenna for power, allowing the  team to ping it with radio waves to send back information if bacteria is present.  The idea is for dentists to develop customized treatment plans for patients with chronic gum disease.  Patients with a high number of cavities could be given a fluoride varnish  or rinses.
As for overall health, the tattoo may have a future to monitor biological markers for diseases such as AIDS or stomach ulcers before it becomes serious.

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