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Shark Science

Study Finds Human Teeth are as Tough as Shark Teeth 85

Posted by samzenpus
from the thank-you-science dept.
sciencehabit writes "Don't feel inadequate. Even though your teeth are largely composed of a mineral softer than that found in sharks, new tests suggest that they're just as tough. In sharks, the material coating the teeth is largely composed of fluoroapatite, a fluoridated phosphate mineral that in its pure form is harder than the hydroxyapatite found in the enamel of human teeth. But by pressing tiny metallic pyramids into the surfaces of teeth from a shortfin mako shark and a tiger shark, researchers found that the enameloid coating on shark teeth is no harder than that of the enamel on a human wisdom tooth. The teeth are, in fact, of comparable hardness because their surfaces aren't pure mineral but instead are made of mineral crystals bound together with proteins so that the material doesn't shatter under a sudden impact."
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Study Finds Human Teeth are as Tough as Shark Teeth

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  • Re:Bite back (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JoeMerchant (803320) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:39PM (#40862217)

    First thing I thought when I read the title was, damn, that sucks.

    I mean, sharks are constantly breaking off their teeth and growing new ones, I'd want my teeth to be considerably stronger than a shark's.

    Then, I realized that the comparison is just as bogus as so many other sensational headline "studies" because of the difference in tooth shape, any "comparison of strength" is going to be completely arbitrary. Is it a straight comparison of enamel hardness? Break-off strength from the root? Mean time (years or % of lifetime) between failure in ordinary daily use? How long one can go without brushing before decay sets in? Which species of shark? Which sub-culture of human?

    Now, get off my lawn!

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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