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A plastic derived from bile acid has been developed for use for tooth filling by scientists from China and Canada, which may offer a new tool for dental care.
The new material, published in ASC Applied Materials & Interfaces, is made by mixing bile acids with chemical fillers to form a resin that hardens into a tough plastic upon exposure to blue light.
It was originally invented to be used for biomedical applications, according to an article in National Geographic, but it became too rigid to be used that way.
"We had to add in a lot of other things to make it soft," said chemist Julian Zhu at the University of Montreal in Canada. "At that point we thought, why don't we use this for dental resin?"
Fillings have received a lot of attention, with many people arguing that the plastic composites and silver amalgam fillings are potentially toxic to people.
Recently, author Terry Prachett blamed mercury-based tooth fillings for his Alzheimer's disease.
The ADA acknowledges that there has been debate over mercury fillings, but supports their use, pointing to all studies to date have found no significant risk. Studies on what filling to best use for children have been inconclusive.
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