A new drug created to treat Alzheimer's disease could potentially help in regrowing teeth

A new drug created to treat Alzheimer's disease could potentially help in regrowing teeth

An exciting new discovery could help one-third of the world's population that suffers from tooth decay and cavities.

Are your teeth crying out for help? Do you need fillings but feel scared?

 Worry not, as scientists are working to bring a new drug that could make dental fillings a thing of the past.

Regrow your teeth

Initially developed and tested to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the drug called Tideglusib happens to promote the natural regrowth mechanism, allowing the tooth to repair the cavities itself. 

A new field in dentistry known as regenerative endodontics is in search of a natural solution that could help us get away from the need of dental fillings. Researchers in the U.K, led by Paul Sharpe, a professor of craniofacial biology at King’s College London, and his colleagues tested Tideglusib to stimulate the regrowth of teeth in mice and surprisingly, it worked.

“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,” Sharpe was quoted as saying by Telegraph. 

Tideglusib functions by stimulating stem cells in the pulp of teeth that is the source of new dentine. Dentine is the mineralized substance beneath the tooth enamel that is primarily affected by tooth decay.

For the uninitiated, teeth can naturally regenerate dentine but only under certain circumstances. But even then, the tooth can only regrow a very thin layer naturally that isn't sufficient to cure the decay that has taken place.

Here comes the magic of tideglusib—it helps in the growth of dentine as it turns off the GSK-3 enzyme which is responsible for preventing dentine to form. 

As a drug, tideglusib has already cleared the route to pass off as a safe treatment for Alzheimer’s. After Sharpe's team applied the drug on mice teeth, as early in the fourth week itself, they found that the dentine had filled out and the biodegradable sponge (made of collagen and placed in the space where the scientists had drilled the hole) had effectively vanished. 

“It greatly enhanced what the tooth tries to do naturally, but it does it in a much more robust way and much quicker,” Sharpe, who published the findings in the January 2018 issue of Scientific Reports, was quoted as saying by Newsweek.

“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,” Sharpe told Futurism.

Expert analysis

While Sharpe and his team looked hopeful for tideglusib's usage in the future, several dental experts reflected the same excitement. 

In an interview with Telegraph, Dr. Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: "This is an extremely interesting and novel approach which shows great promise and we will look forward to it being translated into the clinical application that could undoubtedly be a progressive step in the treatment of dental disease."

“While fillings have remained highly effective in repairing large cavities, they are susceptible to wear-and-tear and can occasionally be in need of repair and replacement. This presents problems as the dentist could have to remove and fill a larger area each time and after numerous treatments, the tooth may then have to be extracted," Dr. Carter added. 

“Creating a more natural way for the tooth to repair itself could not only eliminate these issues but also be a far less invasive treatment option for patients. With dental phobia still being very common, using a natural way to stimulate the renewal of dentine could be an especially comforting proposal for these groups, for which undergoing treatment can often be a cause great anxiety,” he stated further.

Note: The article is not intended to provide any medical advice and has been based on ongoing studies. Kindly seek your doctor's help in case of any concern.

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