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Bacteria-Detecting Tooth Tattoos

Graphene-Based Sensors Help Keep Pearly Whites Super Clean

— April 7, 2012 — Unique
Anyone who dreads having to take a trip to the dentist for an uncomfortable seat in the dental chair will be happy to know that Michael McAlpine and a team of researchers from Princeton University have engineered graphene-based sensors that wirelessly monitor bacteria on teeth.

These remote chemical sensors attach to the flat surface of one's teeth and use antimicrobial peptides and a resonant coil to monitor the level of icky microorganisms floating around inside a person's mouth. The gold-colored sensors are nontoxic and extremely flexible to ensure long-wear.

Similar to the way an electronic key card reads information, the sensors connect with a detector to transmit messages about the cleanliness of a tooth to an external device -- all without poking and prodding the gums with the scary, steel tools generally required to garner such information.

The molar markings aren't quite ready for mass production just yet, but a bright future for the pearly white protectors lies ahead.
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