Lots of chemistry going on down at your local dentist. My jaw is now packed with an amalgam of mercury, silver, tin, copper and who knows what other metals (I'm hoping for ruthenium, one of my favourite metals! Unlikely) The dentist, using caution, described it as a "silver" filling. Having just yesterday finished reading "Bad Science" by Ben Goldacre, I can understand why the general public are a bit more scared of mercury fillings (Oooh just thought of a science-based joke : What do you call holes in your teeth after you've been to the dentist? Hg wells! Needs improvement, but I do like the different levels - the science fiction, the non-obvious acronym for mercury, Wells died just around the time lidocaine was discovered (first marketed in 1949, Wells died in 1946). My work is done for the day after that.)
When I arrived at work there was an email from the British Dental Journal (published by Nature) and I browsed through the list of article titles. Fluoride in water was one of the links. Sugar also comes up. Interesting, because I had not really thought about the effect of sugar on teeth when dietary sugar was being discussed in the media (at least, in the UK media) recently. Maybe I should try cut down on the ol' sugar. I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. Quote from the sugar article :
The Newcastle University study, commissioned by the WHO and published last month in the Journal of Dental Research, recognises the benefit of this threshold by showing that when less than 10% of total calories in the diet is made up of free sugars there are much lower levels of tooth decay. The new research findings go even further, suggesting that halving this threshold for sugars to less than 5% of calories – around five teaspoons a day - would bring further benefits, minimising the risk of dental cavities throughout life.