Nobody likes to go to the dentist but tending to our cavities might become a more enjoyable experience. Researchers at King’s College London discovered a drug used for Alzheimer that can repair cavities and even stimulate tooth regrowth.
A drug named Tideglusib stimulates the stem cells contained in the pulp of the teeth so they can generate new dentine. The drug switches off an enzyme called Gsk-3, which prevents dentine from carrying on forming.
The same drug used to repair memory will regenerate teeth
Teeth can regenerate dentine if the pulp is exposed to an infection, but it can only make a very thin layer that does not fill deep cavities caused by tooth decay.
Scientists found that you can insert into the cavity a small biodegradable sponge with the drug, which then triggers the growth of dentine and repairs the damage within six weeks.
This new technique could reduce the need for fillings and cements, prone to infection and that have to be changed a couple of times. In the case of the biodegradable sponge, they are made out of collagen so they melt over time.
The procedure has so far only been used in mouse teeth, but it was shown to ‘fill the whole injury site’, explained Paul Sharpe, lead author of the study, of the Dental Institute, from King’s College London.