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The Tooth Tattoo (Grades 11-12)

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The Tooth Tattoo

It is not often that you hear tattoos and teeth combined into the same discussion, but according to a Princeton University researcher, the two may make the perfect combination to help ensure a person's continued good health!
Although most tattoos are made out of ink, this one is actually a wireless sensor made out of a very thin and sticky layer of carbon. Another layer of peptides, or chain of amino acids, is added to the carbon, and these are known for their ability to attract harmful bacteria. When this specialized tattoo is placed on a tooth, any dangerous bacteria will gravitate to the sensor and become stuck there. Once the sensor registers the presence of bacteria, a warning is sent out to the designated physician that a potential health problem is developing and needs immediate attention. Best of all, unlike traditional tattoos, application of this bacteria-sensing tool is absolutely painless.
Currently, the tooth tattoo is just an idea rather than a reality. Researchers are trying to figure out how to reduce the sensors so that they are small enough to place on a human tooth. They also hope to find ways to apply the sensor to other objects such as shower curtains or hospital IV tubes in the hopes of detecting the presence of bacteria.
Based on the information in this passage, what is the primary function of the peptides in this sensor?
  1. The peptides create the shape of the sensor on the tooth.
  2. The peptides are very sticky so they hold onto the bacteria.
  3. The peptides send the message back to the person's physician.
  4. The peptides attract the various types of harmful bacteria to them.
Which of the following statements would make the most accurate conclusion to the passage?
  1. Bacteria are often an indication that a person's health has been seriously compromised.
  2. Both measures would help protect the health of countless people throughout the country.
  3. Researchers are always looking at ways to provide people with better dental health care.
  4. Sensors are so incredibly small that they can easily be placed on teeth or even tinier spots.
What is most likely true about tooth tattoos?
  1. They will be very inexpensive to purchase.
  2. They will be available within the next six months.
  3. They will be utilized in various ways to protect people's health.
  4. They will be made out of multiple shades of non-toxic types of ink.

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