Dental fillings could be history after scientists discover a drug can stimulate stem cells in the teeth.
Researchers in King’s College London found that a drug called Tideglusib stimulates the stem cells found in the pulp of the teeth which can generate new dentine – the mineralised material under the enamel.Dental fillings could soon be an outdated medical technique after scientists discover that a drug, already being trialled in Alzheimer’s patients, can encourage tooth regrowth and repair cavities.
According to The Telegraph, teeth already have this ability to regenerate when the pulp gets exposed but can naturally only make a thin layer of dentine which is not enough to fill the cavities caused by tooth decay. Tideglusib switches off an enzyme called GSK-3 preventing dentine from carrying on forming.
At present, dentists treat large cavities and fill holes in teeth using cement or fillings like calcium and silicon-based products. This new technique could reduce the need for fillings or man-made cement, which are likely to cause infections and need to be replaced a number of times.
Professor Paul Sharpe, the lead author of the study, said: “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.”
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