Dental health is cheap to maintain through regular care yet expensive to treat once it has succumbed to decay due to negligence.
Aside from some gum diseases, the predominant ailment seems to be related to the erosion of enamel.
To reverse this damage dentists resort to filling materials such as resin and metal alloys, which have pros as well as cons.
Now, a new research is promising not to replace but essentially regrow tooth enamel over damaged area.
What is enamel anyway? It is the hard, outer layer of a tooth that acts as a protection against decay.
Too much sugar and poor dental hygiene can cause plaque, which in turn release acid that destroys enamel.
Unlike other tissues in our body, enamel does not grow back and a dentist has to fill in the cavity with fillings.
But conventional fillings tend to get loose, or even fall out and need to be replaced.
Researchers from China’s Zhejiang University and Xiamen University found a way to bypass the need of fillings completely.
They made a gel that contains minuscule clusters of calcium and phosphate, the key components of tooth enamel.
They then layered this gel on crystalline hydroxyapatite, a substance similar to the enamel in our teeth.
The components of the gel were then fused with the material. Next, they layered this gel onto damaged human teeth.
These teeth were left for 48 hours into an environment like the inside of human mouth.
The result of this experiment was astounding.
The Gel had formed a thin layer of substance much like the natural enamel of teeth.
Repeated application of this gel could build up this layer into repairing the damage.
It still has a long way to go before it can be available to people. However, the researchers are hopeful.