Dental cavities plague nearly every age group and come with serious health concerns, according to the World Health Organization. Additionally, the costs of treating dental cavities and related diseases can be a huge economic burden.
Now, there is a new product being created that uses proteins that rebuild tooth enamel and treat dental cavities. Lead author, professor of materials science and engineering, and adjunct professor in the department of chemical engineering and department of oral health sciences, Mehmet Sarikaya said that “Remineralization guided by peptides is a healthy alternative to current dental care.”
In theory, the new biogenic dental products can rebuild teeth and cure cavities without costly and painful treatments. Sarikaya says that the “peptide-enabled formulations will be simple and would be implemented in over-the-counter or clinical products.”
In the earliest stages, tooth decay is relatively harmless. However, once the cavity progresses through the tooth enamel serious health concerns arise. If left untreated, the tooth will rot and fall out. The remaining teeth and supporting tissues can be left with adverse consequences, as well as the patient’s health. This includes possible life-threatening conditions. Good oral hygiene is the best defense against tooth decay.
Regardless, there are certain socioeconomic groups that suffer disproportionately, according to researchers. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that dental cavities are on the rise in the United States.
Scientists designed peptides created from amelogenin, which is a protein essential to forming hard crown enamel, to restore the mineral structure of the enamel.
The peptides have been proven to bind to the surface of the tooth. Once bound they recruit calcium and phosphate ions, according to Deniz Yucesoy, coauthor and doctoral student.
The new technology allows the deposition of 10-50 micrometers of new enamel after each use. Once the product is fully developed, it will be available in gels, solutions, biomimetic toothpastes and composites at public health facilities and in private homes.
People will be able to strengthen and rebuild tooth enamel on a daily basis. It can even be used as preventative care. It will be safe enough for children to use.
By Jeanette Smith
Futurity: This stuff could rebuild teeth and cure cavities
Image Courtesy of marissa anderson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License