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Fluorapatite crystals. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showing fluorapatite, or calcium fluoride phosphate, crystals at various growth stages. The crystals start as hexagonal rods and grow into spheres. These crystals has been grown in the laboratory for research into the use of fluorapatite as an ingredient in toothpaste to treat sensitive teeth. The fluorapatite transfers fluoride ions to tooth enamel, which is a composite of collagen and hydroxyapatite (calcium phosphate), repairing any damage. Magnification: x3660 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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