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you are > Dental Health Articles > Study identifies key to dental health

Study identifies key to dental health
Updated: 12/22/2009 6:59:43 PM

Study identifies key to dental health Examining the microscopic factors that can contribute to dental health, scientists have identified the way a simple amino acid can make human teeth stronger.

A study published in the December 21 online edition of the journal PLoS Biology found that the amino acid proline is repeated in strands of proteins found in tooth enamel, HealthDay News reports.

By comparing the use of proline in healthy humans and other animals with weaker teeth, the researchers aimed to understand how the acid promotes dental health.

According to Tom Diekwish, the study's lead researcher and professor of oral biology at the University of Illinois, long proline strands in humans draw in groups of molecules that help enamel crystals grow, whereas animals with shorter strands, like frogs, don't have the enameled prisms that give teeth strength and structure.

"Proline repeats are amazing. They hold the key to understanding the structure and function of many natural proteins," said Diekwish.

He added, "These findings could help people replace lost parts of the tooth with a healthy layer of new enamel."

According to, impacted teeth, unequal jaw growth and joint disorders can all be treated by a dentist through oral surgery.

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