If you love your sweets a little too much, you might have spent a significant part of your childhood in a dentist’s chair, getting those pesky cavities filled in. I developed a hate-hate relationship with my dentist, which only increased with my braces.
If you too hate dentists as much as the rest of us, these scientists have your back.
Researchers from China’s Zhejiang University have developed a special gel that allows tooth enamel to repair itself. How does this work? Just apply this gel onto your damaged teeth, and it does the magic itself.
The reasoning behind this gel are the materials used for current fillings: metal, porcelain or resin, which can pop off the surface of teeth, since they are not binding with the enamel. Ruikang Tang and his colleagues came up with an alternative solution of a calcium and phosphate gel that can be applied to the teeth, encouraging them to self-repair. The gel has the same arrangement of calcium and phosphate crystals as regular enamel.
This new enamel formed from the gel is only 3 micrometres thick, about 400 times thinner than undamaged enamel. However, Tang says the gel can be repeatedly applied to build up more layers. After initial testing on teeth removed from late donors, the team is now testing it on mice, with the hopes of eventually testing on people. They have to ensure it’s both effective in real-life mouth conditions, and safe for people to eat and drink with when using it.
Here’s hoping it works out, and never having to see a dentist ever again!