That famous predator with the winning smile has found a shortcut to keep his grill gleaming.
Shark teeth contain natural fluoride, the cavity-fighting ingredient in toothpaste, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Structural Biology.
“In order to make teeth more acid resistant, toothpaste often contains fluoride,” Matthias Epple, study co-author and chemistry professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen, explained to Discovery News.
The study found that the surface of shark teeth is 100 percent fluoride, even though “in principle, sharks should not suffer from cavities. As they live in water and as they change their teeth regularly, dental protection should not be a problem for sharks,” Epple told the news source.
Indeed, some shark species will chew through 35,000 teeth during their lives, which is handy given that they often lose teeth when attacking prey.
The researchers also found that although shark teeth are different from human teeth in shape and sharpness, they are not any harder than human teeth, which is a nice design feature given you want a bit of flexibility if your meals tends to struggle a bit.
While hardness is comparable, force is not; sharks out bite humans 20 to one. The average great white can exert some 1.8 tons of force when chomping down–although the researchers of the study noted that it isn’t so much the force of the bite but those 3,000 healthy teeth that do the real damage.
No word from researchers yet on how sharks floss.