Is it finally possible to regrow teeth?
Are you one of the many people that would really rather not go to the dentist to have dental fillings? Well, a new scientific breakthrough by King's College London may be just what you were looking for.
The researchers have found that The Alzheimer's treatment drug Tideglusib can enhance your tooth's ability to rebuild naturally the dentine which is lost when acids dissolve the tooth structure causing cavities.
“The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine.
“In addition, using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics.”
said Professor Paul Sharpe.
So what happens when the tooth is damaged and how could this new drug help?
Should the bacteria in your mouth buildup then the amount of acid which attacks teeth after eating will also build up as it is excreted by this bacteria as they digest sugar. Once the acid has removed the hard outer layer of the tooth (enamel) it will then begin to remove the softer inner surface of your tooth (dentine).
However, your tooth will naturally fight this process. Underneath the dentine are the nerves and blood supply to the tooth (pulp), your tooth will naturally create a layer of secondary dentine which is harder than the regular dentine but not as hard as enamel.
This process can only continue for so long and only repair relatively small holes in the tooth.
What the researchers found is that when a biodegradable sponge was soaked in the Tideglusib, the natural repair process of the tooth was enhanced and larger cavities could be covered over. The scientists called this a
"complete, natural repair."
During the process the biodegradable sponge was absorbed and the dentine formed around it.
At the moment the trial has only been completed on mice but if it could be modified to work for humans it could reduce the need to have fillings at the dentist!
Other ways to reduce the need for fillings.
Of course, none of this would be necessary if we didn't have cavities in the first place!
Cavities form when bacteria builds up naturally in our mouth, as the bacteria digests sugar in our diet they excrete acid and it is this acid which attacks the outer surface of our teeth.
This is a natural process and your saliva is designed to be alkaline and counteract the acid from the bacteria. This is why chewing sugarfree gum after the meal can redress the acidic balance in your mouth and neutralise the acid from the bacteria.
However, two factors affect this natural process:
A diet which is high in sugar
Not adequately cleaning teeth to remove the bacteria
With a diet that is very rich in sugar the natural neutralisation of this acid by the saliva cannot work at such a high level, this means that acid remains in contact with your teeth causing the cavities.
Likewise, if the bacteria are not adequately removed by brushing and flossing then again the neutralising effect from the saliva can't keep up with the acid production.
Being aware of one's diet and keeping sugar to a minimum plus cleaning your teeth twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste and then using interstitial brushes or floss to clean in between your teeth will radically reduce the likelihood of developing tooth decay and cavities.
For further advice and information please contact our dental practice in Barnstaple, North Devon and book an appointment with our dental hygienist who can give you advice and information about looking after your dental health plus a tailored treatment plan should one be required.
After qualifying in 1992 in Birmingham, Donna moved to Cornwall then helped to set up Trinity Dental Centre in 2000, with the aim of providing kind and gentle dental care. Donna's interest is in the cosmetic field and she frequently updates her knowledge in this area. Outside of work she likes to read and to cook. She is married to Rodney and they have two sons. View all posts by Dr Donna Hill ➤ .