Categories: Health

Bye-bye, Tooth Decay? Scientists Push Enamel Regeneration to Fix Bad Teeth

A breakthrough procedure promises a way to repair damaged teeth without resorting to dentures.

A great smile is something everyone wants to have. This is certainly possible when your teeth are in great condition. Tooth decay would often get in the way but thankfully, our teeth are not easily damaged. For starters, it has a protective layer.

Enamel is the outermost covering of the teeth. It is known as the “hardest mineralized tissue” in the human body. However, enamel is not indestructible. A paper published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research asserts that enamel is vulnerable to wear, damage, and decay. This is expected since we all use our teeth constantly. Moreover, plaque — which is a a sticky film of bacteria — is constantly present in our teeth.

Once the enamel is breached, tooth decay could set in.

Various surveys indicate that around 35 to 50 percent of all the people in the world have dental issues. Most of their problems set in when the enamel of the teeth breaks down. You see, when we eat food that contain sugar, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that are abrasive to the enamel.

That said, it follows that if the enamel of your teeth does not break down, then your teeth are protected from decay. Unfortunately, damaged enamel cannot regrow. The current standard tooth repair treatments use synthetic materials as enamel substitutes. Alas, they cannot fully mimic what natural enamel can do.

Who doesn't want perfect teeth?

A brand new dental breakthrough might put an end to so much tooth decay agony. Apparently, researchers at Queen Mary University of London have discovered a protein that could trigger the growth of mineralized material such as bone and, of course, tooth enamel.

In an interview in the science journal Nature Communications, study co-author and dentist Dr. Sherif Elsharkawy said that the newly discovered protein could be used to “develop acid-resistant bandages that can infiltrate, mineralize, and shield exposed dentinal tubules (microscopic channels) in human teeth.” While Dr. Elsharkawy was talking specifically about dealing with tooth hypersensitivity, the process could easily be adapted to prevent tooth decay.

The breakthrough is a big deal among dentists.

Perhaps, those of us with damaged teeth with one day be able to get back the teeth that we lost.

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