Human tooth wear occurs so slowly that traditionally it has needed months or years to be measurable. This study showed that microscopic changes in wear patterns on human teeth could be detected in a matter of days and could be used as indicators of rates of wear. Thus, daily or weekly changes in rates of wear can be documented for specific locations on teeth. For instance, through this new approach, rates of wear of human teeth were shown to be significantly slower than rates of wear of the teeth of laboratory monkeys raised on hard or soft diets. Similar techniques may ultimately be used to monitor subtle changes in tooth use-including those associated with growth and development and those occurring in response to various dental clinical procedures.
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