One of the main reasons why you might Google for a “dentist near me” is because of tooth pain. Whether you experience a sharp pain whenever you sip hot coffee or wince from a consistent toothache, the most likely cause of your discomfort is tooth decay.
Our mouths contain a variety of harmful oral bacteria that can slowly strip away vital minerals in our tooth enamel until cavities form. By brushing and flossing daily, you can successfully lower your risk of tooth decay by removing these bacteria from your mouth. However, even those of us most diligent with our brushing and flossing can develop the occasional cavity.
While dental fillings are the most common treatment method for tooth decay, a new study from researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast may have discovered an alternative that could repair the damage caused by tooth decay.
In the recent study, researchers found that aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay and actually reduce the need for fillings.
The Impact of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay ranks as the most common dental disease in the world. Untreated tooth decay also ranks as the most common chronic illness among kids worldwide. Tooth decay and the oral pain it causes leads to over 51 million hours of school missed for kids, and millions more hours of missed work for adults.
Tooth decay causes the destruction of the structure of our teeth, the formation of cavities, and the subsequent inflammation of the nerve which causes the toothache.
Current treatment for tooth decay involves dental fillings, where Dr. Feldmanis restores the health of a tooth by filling the cavity caused by decay with a synthetic material.
In their study, researchers at Queen’s University discovered that aspirin could offer a successful alternative treatment option to restore the health and function of teeth impacted by decay. The study’s findings – which were presented at the British Society for Oral and Dental Research’s annual convention – showed that aspirin can enhance the function of stem cells found in teeth, thereby helping to stimulate self-repair by regenerating the tooth structure lost due to decay.
By examining a variety of factors, researchers determined that aspirin made an excellent candidate drug that possessed the properties required to stimulate existing stem cells in teeth to enhance the regeneration of the damaged tooth structure.
Treatment of stem cells in teeth with low-dose aspirin significantly increased the tooth’s ability to remineralize substances stripped by decay and its ability to express genes responsible for forming dentine, the hard outer layer of our teeth most commonly effected by decay.
This unexpected discovery, combined with the known pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of aspirin could offer a unique solution for controlling the inflammation of tooth nerves and pain while simultaneously promoting regeneration and natural repair.
Making The Trip to a Dentist Near Me Less Painful
“There is a huge potential to change our approach to one of the biggest dental challenges we face,” writes Dr. El Karim, the study’s lead researcher. “Our initial research findings in the laboratory suggest that the use of aspirin, a drug already licensed for human use, could offer an immediate innovative solution enabling our teeth to repair themselves.”
A future were teeth can repair themselves without the need for dental fillings or other uncomfortable dental procedures is certainly one that everybody can appreciate. Researchers hope that further testing will allow them to develop a system that can be used in dental offices everywhere.
“Our next step will be to develop an appropriate delivery system to test the drug efficacy in a clinical trial,” writes Dr. Karim. “This novel approach could not only increase the long-term survival of teeth but could also result in huge savings for… healthcare systems worldwide.”
So the next time you Google “dentist near me” it might not be because you need a filing, but just a little aspirin instead.