Newly Discovered Stem Cells Could 'Patch Up' Cavities

Coming to your local dentist in Guildford isn't always going to be the best moment of your week, especially when you know you have a cavity that needs to be filled, but at least you've put your oral health in the best hands possible.

Filling cavities works by first drilling away decay before filling in the void left behind – a procedure which once you've had yourself you'll know isn't too bad, but is often one of the procedures people most fear at the dentist. Dentin, the hard layer on top of the teeth, is one of the few parts of the body's tissue that does not regenerate naturally. But, in the future, could there be a new way for your dentist to fix your cavities that doesn't involve fillings?

According to this new research reported by New Atlas, teeth may in the future be able to mend themselves. A newly identified collection of stem cells have been cultivated in tests on mice, a species which has teeth that grow all their life, so much so that they must continuously gnaw on things to keep them in check.

The stem cells discovered, and an associated gene, are responsible for tooth growth, but also plays a role in the regeneration of this tissue too.

Whether or not this will have application to humans remains to be seen, but even if mice teeth stem cells don't bear fruit for human dental health, there are already multiple other scientific methods already on the table, everything from taking stem cells from baby teeth to using a laser to promote the production of dentin on our teeth, so hopefully, one day, we can look forward to a filling-free future!