Scientists have made a breakthrough discovery involving a drug developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers say the drug, Tideglusib, also happens to promote natural tooth regrowth, which allows teeth to repair cavities.
Stem Cell Stimulation
Tideglusib works by stimulating stem cells in the pulp of teeth, the source of new dentine. Dentine is the mineralized substance beneath tooth enamel that gets eaten away by tooth decay.
Teeth can naturally regenerate dentine without assistance, but only under certain circumstances. The pulp must be exposed through infection (such as decay) or trauma to prompt the manufacture of dentine. But even then, the tooth can only regrow a very thin layer naturally—not enough to repair cavities caused by decay, which are generally deep. Tideglusib changes this outcome because it blocks the enzyme that prevents dentine from forming.
New Growth in Just 6 Weeks
In the research, the team inserted small, biodegradable sponges made of collagen soaked in Tideglusib into cavities. The sponges triggered dentine growth and within six weeks and the damage was repaired.
So far, the drug has been tested in mouse teeth… but given its clinical trial history for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers are hopeful the dental treatment will get into clinics quickly.
Paul Sharpe, lead author of the study says, “The simplicity of this approach makes it ideal for the treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine.”