Aspirin Could Reverse The Effects of Tooth Decay, Claim Belfast Researchers
According to research done at Queen’s University in Belfast aspirin could lead to fewer fillings being required or even reverse the effects of tooth decay, by stimulating stem cells in teeth to boost the regeneration of teeth.
Aspirin is a common painkiller drug which has been used for various treatments since its original formulation, and is often used to relieve the pain of head and muscle pains.
Teeth naturally have a very limited ability to regenerate, generally limited to a thin band of dentine (the tooth layer below the enamel layer) that forms if the inner pulp is exposed, but this cannot help in the case of large cavities, which generally need to be filled, removing more tooth material and may need replacing.
The findings of the research, led by Professor Ikhlas El Karim of Queen’s University, Belfast, has shown that aspirin can enhance the function of stem cells found in teeth and potentially by repairing damaged teeth directly could remove the need for fillings.
Professor Karim noted that this would be a gradual process, but that a therapy could be developed which would allow teeth to repair themselves.
There are several complications to get past first, chief among which is applying it to the damage tooth. Aspirin could easily be washed away if simply placed on a cavity, and so some form of delivery system will need to be created to allow for a long term delivery.
Development of a compound or treatment is helped by the fact that aspirin is a drug that already has a license to be sold and prescribed, which will increase the speed of development of any treatment.
What is exciting is that this is something that if the tests continue to be positive and a delivery method can be found, is a treatment that could end fillings in the near future.