Much like the success of popular lovemaking drug Viagra, which was originally intended to treat high blood pressure, this breakthrough drug was discovered by accident. Researchers at King's College in London realized that an experimental Alzheimer's drug they were testing had an important side effect: it encouraged growth in the center of people's teeth.
If I learned anything in AP Biology, it's that stem cells are good. Everything else gone. But I do know that stem cells are good at dividing and creating new cells. They're great for growth and regeneration. This new drug stimulates stem cells in the center of a tooth, leading to a spike of an important tissue called dentin.
If a tooth was an M&M, dentin would be the chocolaty interior. This example isn't great, since the consumption of sweet and tasty M&Ms actually leads to the depletion of dentin. Gasp! Either way, dentin is the primary component in the core of our teeth, and it regenerates at an extra-fast rate with the help of this new drug, which is called Tideglusib.
Plants can regenerate themselves, and so can teeth! They're very similar. Teeth can actually regenerate their own dentin, but not fast enough to fix cavities. Tideglusib increases this rate to the max.
Who needs enzymes anyway? Actually, we all do. They're very important. But in this case, Tideglusib is effective because it stops an enzyme, the GSK-3 enzyme, from working. GSK-3 limits the formation of dentin.
Like most things in life, sponges are involved. In this case, the sponges were tiny. Super tiny. The method that Kings College researchers used which gave them such success was to place Tideglusib-soaked sponges into the cavities of their patients.
This all sounds pretty great, especially if you're afraid of dentists. The good news is that, since Tideglusib has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer's, it could be on the market quicker than usual.
If you live in America, then over the course of your lifetime, you will spend almost 40 days brushing you teeth. That's a commitment that should not be taken lightly. 40 days of teeth brushing should not be wasted. So, considering the fact that most Americans will get their first cavity before they turn 17, this seems super important.
Did you know that another name for the fear of dentists is odontophobia? Isn't that interesting? Wow. Just, wow. "Dental phobia" and "dentist phobia" are commonly accepted terms too, but odontophobia makes you sound like a fancy doctor.