Tufts of Resilience


Human teeth, like glass, crack easily and yet are able to remain intact for a lifetime of chewing. This is due to the presence of tufts-small crack-like flaws-deep inside the tooth enamel, discovered a research team. These tufts arise during tooth development and when the enamel is under pressure, the tufts act as weak points for the cracks to appear. As the cracks grow upwards, the tufts suppress them by distributing the stress among themselves, preventing a potential site for dental decay from forming. The study appeared in the April issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Down To Earth, June 2009