Do you hate going to the dentist? No worries. There may soon be a drug for that – something other than a sedative.
Researchers have discovered that a medication called Tideglusib, which was developed to treat Alzheimer’s Disease, can prompt teeth to repair cavities on their own. That’s right. No drilling. No filling.
Tideglusib stimulates stem cells in the pulp of teeth. The pulp creates dentine, the material beneath tooth enamel that gets damaged by tooth decay.
While teeth can naturally generate dentine, that production is limited to a very thin layer by an enzyme called GSK-3. Tideglusib shuts off GSK-3, allowing the pulp to produce enough dentine to fill a cavity.
In research conducted on mice, the scientists placed biodegradable collagen sponges soaked in Tideglusib into cavities. The process accelerated dentine growth and in six weeks the tooth decay was repaired. When the collagen dissolves, it left behind a cavity-free tooth.
(Side note: Where do you get sponges small enough to fit in a mouse-tooth cavity? And who has fingers delicate enough to place those sponges in those itty-bitty cavities? Science is awesome!)
Tideglusib won’t show up in your dentist’s office anytime soon. The drug must still be approved for human clinical trials. The fact that it’s already being tested for use against Alzheimer’s could speed up that approval process.
One medicine that can effectively treat both Alzheimer’s and cavities? Now that would be a wonder drug, for sure.