Now a Tooth Sensor Can Trace What you Eat and Keep you Healthy
Tooth sensor developed by scientists (Photo credits: Tufts University)

Technological inventions to keep your health in check are many and now a new sensor can detect what you are chewing on and let you know your intake of nutrients. A new 2-millimetre-by-2-millimetre miniaturized sensor has been developed by researchers at Tufts University. It can transmit information about what you have eaten, in terms of the glucose, salt and alcohol you consumed to your smartphone. It can also pick up the vitamins and other nutrients you have had.

These sensors are made up of a film of polymers that detects chemicals in its environment. It fits on your tooth like a sticker. They can pick up and transmit information about what is being chewed on in the mouth to a digital device. For example, it can sense salts or ethanol, determine the spectrum and intensity of the radiofrequency waves which will transmit the information. The sensors are made up of three sandwiched layers: a central "bioresponsive" layer which will absorb the nutrient or other chemicals to be detected. The outer layers consist of two square-shaped gold rings.

These layers act like an antenna, collecting and transmitting radiofrequency waves. When the salt is detected by the central layer, the electrical properties will shift. so the sensor can absorb and transmit different frequency of waves, with varying intensity.  In this manner, the nutrients will be measured. The researchers have tested these sensors on people drinking alcohol, gargling mouthwash, or eating soup. In each case, the nutrients will be different. The findings are yet to be revealed and would be published soon in the journal Advanced Materials.

The future adaptations of these sensor devices could detect and record a wide range of nutrients, chemicals and physiological states."We have extended common RFID (radiofrequency ID) technology to a sensor package that can dynamically read and transmit information on its environment, whether it is affixed to a tooth, to skin, or any other surface," said Fiorenzo Omenetto, the corresponding author and professor of Engineering at Tufts.