Researchers from King's College London say they have discovered that a drug, originally made to treat Alzheimer's, has the ability to regenerate decaying teeth from the inside out. Ironically enough, this revolutionary discovery may soon reduce the need for artificial and dangerous synthetic fillings, which, coincidentally, have been linked to Alzheimer's.
Drug Regenerates Teeth and Reduce The Need for Fillings
The drug, known as Tideglusib, improves the tooth's natural ability to heal itself. The tooth regenerating Tideglusib works by using the tooth's own stem cells by activating them from the tooth's pulp center. The drug then activates the tooth's stem cells to promote the damaged area of the tooth to regenerate the dentin material that makes up the majority of the tooth.
Paul Sharpe from King's College London is the lead author of the research team responsible for creating the tooth regenerating pill. He says, "Fillings work fine, but if the tooth can repair itself, surely [that’s] the best way. You’re restoring all the vitality of the tooth."
Sharpe's team of researchers discovered that an Alzheimer's drug (AKA Tideglusib), could actually be used to stimulate stem cells from with inside the tooth. They found that Tideglusib could efficiently create new dentin and thus, regenerate the entire structure of the tooth without the use of using a foreign substance, such as mercury-filled fillings.
"Fillings work fine, but if the tooth can repair itself, surely [that’s] the best way. You’re restoring all the vitality of the tooth."
Sharpe and his team first tested their hypothesis by using Tideglusib on the damaged teeth of mice. They were astonished to find that the teeth of the mice had actually regenerated a substantial amount of dentin, thus restoring their teeth back to a non-decayed state.
Doctor Sharpe states that applying the drug to a tooth is similar to filling in a decayed tooth with a regular filling, except, rather than using artificial filler, doctors use a substance that naturally encourages the growth of dentin.
How Long Until Drug/Fillings Alternative Sees the Light of Day?
While Sharpe's research team have possibly developed a drug that may one day replace dangerous, mercury-filled fillings, they are still in the early trial stage. The doctor says there is still a lot of research to be done before we know if the procedure can be successfully replicated on human teeth.
The team plans on performing trials on rats next, then possibly moving onto human trials soon after.