Lost and broken teeth could one day be regrown, scientists believe, after finding the stem cells responsible for tooth formation and the gene that switches it on.
Now, the world of stem cell research holds a lot of promise. Equally exciting and controversial, stem cells are poised to change medicine forever, changing the way we eliminate disease or even potentially extending human life. Stem cells also play a key role in the process of wound healing. This also includes your damaged tooth.
“Stem cells are so important, as, in the future, they could be used by laboratories to regenerate tissues that have been damaged or lost due to disease, so it’s vital to understand how they work,” said Dr. Bing Hu from the University of Plymouth’s Peninsula Dental School.
Scientists at the University of Plymouth discovered a new group of stem cells which form skeletal tissue and contribute to making dentin, the hard tissue that surrounds the main body of the tooth.
They also showed that a gene named Dlk1 sparks the stem cells into action, so they can mend damage such as decaying, crumbling or cracked teeth.
More research will be conducted to better understand and refine potential tooth treatments.
The study is published in Nature Communications.