Sensors track your diet and health from inside your mouth

Many people who go on a diet or who are interested in keeping track of their calories often have a difficult time of it. Diabetes, in particular, requires that the calories be counted for better control of blood sugar levels. Researchers have recently built a smart device health tracker that is small enough that it can be placed on your teeth.

The New Health Tracker

The new health tracker is small, but currently is being tested in a square of two different sizes – 4mm X 4mm, and 2mm X 2mm. It is small enough to be placed on a single tooth. It looks like a computer chip that is stuck on a tooth and may have a gold or copper appearance, which makes up the antenna. It is composed of three layers of titanium and gold, and the middle layer is either water-based or made of silk fibers.

Different materials are sandwiched between the metal frame, and the chemical makeup determines how sensitive it is and to what they can test for. Different materials can make it very sensitive, sensitive enough to detect amounts of glucose, salt, pH levels, or be able to detect one type of alcohol from another.

A Wireless Sensor

The measurements are made by the sensor material which changes color or shape, or something else. Each of these changes has been calibrated carefully so that it can accurately measure specific foods, or sugars, etc. It collects the data and then can transmit it wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet.

The Advantage

This smart device can make the ideal tool to help people keep track of how many calories they consume. This would make it much more convenient because the smart device would keep track, letting the individual eat without counting calories beforehand. Other uses may include medical applications such as measuring salt intake for people with high blood pressure, energy levels that could tell drivers when they are too tired to drive, dental health, and more.

No Power Source Needed

The materials that make up the outer layers are able to use the material’s bio-sensitive properties to generate power. It transmits different signals to indicate different foods or the particular information that is desired.

Problems Yet to Be Overcome

In the development process, the researchers still have some obstacles to overcome. The value of the sensor depends on other factors. Things like the types of food eaten may damage the sensor, whether the food is cooked or not, or how long the food is chewed, all have yet to be developed further.

So far, the chip has only been tested on a front tooth. The chip creators say that it can be placed on molars, if desired, to keep it hidden.

The Time Needed for Reset

Another issue to be resolved is the reset time. It was discovered that certain foods, such as salty ones, slowed the reset time. The thickness of the sensor layer also may need some adjusting. A thinner layer made it more sensitive to different types of liquids, but when the layer was thicker they found that it could detect foods faster.  

Advantages of a Tooth-Mounted Food Tracker

An advantage of using a tooth mounted device to measure foods or other things is that it may be inexpensive. This will enable you to avoid the more expensive fitness trackers. It will also enable you to not worry about what you ate earlier, because it will all be recorded by your device. For those who love alcoholic drinks, it can record how much you drank – even if you do not remember.

Other uses may include sending the information directly to a doctor, who needs to watch a patient's diet or other vital signs. This can enable a patient to not worry about having to contact a doctor to send information or hooking up to some electronics to transfer stored data.

Still in the Experimental Stage

The sensor is still in a test stage and is not apt to be on the market for some time. Researchers say that they believe that there are no limits to what it can test for, but it is limited to whatever the researchers decide to create.

Until this type of device is readily available to the public, people still need to take care of their teeth. Periodontal disease is a silent problem that can cause a lot of serious illnesses. Preventing it requires that you brush twice daily and floss, and make regular dental visits.

Until this high-tech device is made you will need to continue to take care of your teeth. By brushing and flossing daily you can help prevent gum disease. If you live in the Carrollton, TX, or Grapevine, TX areas, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist, can help you with all your dental needs including treatment for periodontal disease and other dental problems. For a consultation or dental treatment for better dental health, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.