An Idea that Works in Theory
Dental cavities are one of the leading causes of poor oral health, affecting nearly every age group and accompanying by serious health concerns. While there are other causes, still the progress of cavities can variably lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss. The cost of treatment is a huge economic burden for individuals and the health care systems in general. Good oral hygiene is the best prevention, yet there are disproportionate sufferers across some socio-economic groups.
According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of dental cavities in Americans is again on the rise, suggesting a regression in the progress of combating this disease.
Researchers at the University of Washington have designed a convenient and natural product that uses proteins to rebuild tooth enamel and treat dental cavities. The team is looking into the body’s own natural tooth-forming proteins as a way to repair tooth enamel. One of them, amelogenin, is crucial to forming the hard crown enamel, so they designed amelogenin-derived peptides that biomineralize and are the key active ingredient here. The repair process restores the mineral structure found in natural tooth enamel.
The peptides are proven to bind onto tooth surfaces and attract calcium and phosphate ions. This peptide-enabled technology allows the deposition of 10 to 50 micrometers of new enamel on the teeth after each use. The process here is remineralization guided by peptides.
The new biogenic dental products can, in theory, rebuild teeth and cure cavities without costly and cumbersome treatments. It’s a natural, healthy alternative to current dental health care. Peptide-enabled formulations will be simple and would be implemented in over-the-counter or clinical products.
Once this technology is fully developed, it can be used in private and public health settings, in biomimetic toothpaste, gels, solutions and composites as a safe alternative to existing dental procedures and treatments. It will enable people to rebuild and strengthen tooth enamel on a daily basis as part of a preventive dental care routine. It is expected to be safe for use by adults and children.
The research finding was first published in ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering.
Looking To The Future of Caries Treatment
While this new technology is promising in theory, it does look like to have a chance in the future. In the meanwhile, Lynnwood dentistry offers the time-tested restorative treatments for carious teeth.