Can Peptide-Based Products Prevent Cavities?
Earlier this year, the University of Washington released a study on peptide-based dental products, the predicted value of such products, and how this fascinating and new technology may be the crucible in which curing cavities is born. An amazing idea, to say the least, and one that dentists and patients alike are getting very excited about.
The study and the research behind this new innovation comes out of the University of Washington. The developing product involves natural proteins being used within the mouth to rebuild tooth enamel, effectively treating cavities without having to use fillings.
The university’s product is still far from being ready for broad use within the dental industry, but these innovations could change the face of dentistry forever.
The University of Washington Offers a Game-Changer in Dental Health
According to Mehmet Sarikaya, the lead study author and a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Oral Health Sciences, “Remineralization guided by peptides is a healthy alternative to current dental health care. Peptide-enabled formulations will be simple and would be implemented in over-the-counter or clinical products.”
The idea behind the University’s science is to use peptides to literally rebuild damage, chips, deterioration, and other adverse conditions in the enamel of teeth and to cure, that’s right, cure cavities with regenerative proteins. In this way, dental patients could have an entirely new and exciting option to pick from in electing their route through dental health.
But what are peptides, and how do they work? A “peptide” is a chemistry term, simply denoting a combination of amino acids. Amino acids are organic compounds that come from protein. Researchers at the University of Washington have figured out how to replicate the body’s own, natural, tooth-forming proteins. The researchers did this by capturing the essence of amelogenin, the key protein that is crucial to forming and maintaining the hardened enamel around the teeth.
Researchers figured out how to make peptide products that mimic the natural process by which enamel is grown and strengthened. This new technology could mean a powerful alternative to fillings and other dental procedures, giving dental patients a more natural, less invasive solution to addressing cavities.
A World With No More Fillings
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of dental cavities in America is once again on the rise, for the first time in almost half a century. We are experiencing a regression in our efforts to combat this disease, so any help that we can get in addressing cavity reduction is appreciated. Bio-inspired technology could go a long way in reducing not only the prevalence of cavities but in properly treating cavities when they do occur. According to Deniz Yucesoy, a co-author and a doctoral student at the UW, “These peptides are proven to bind onto tooth surfaces and recruit calcium and phosphate ions.”
So not only are the peptide-based products able to fix and heal already-present cavities, but peptide- induced toothpaste, gels, and solutions could be effective in bolstering the strength of tooth enamel, acting as a workable preventative for what could be a lifetime of cavity-free living.
A world with no more fillings may have been out of our reach before. But if we can organize and stabilize this new science from the University of Washington (and if we can make the products and treatments affordable), we might be able to take a strong bite (no pun intended) out of cavity prevalence.
Tried and True Methods of Maintaining Great Dental Hygiene
Let’s not forget that, in a perfect world, you and your family would never have to seek treatments for cavities, regardless of how those treatments were carried out. This, obviously, is the ideal scenario. If we take great care of our teeth, and if we ensure that our spouses, sons, daughters, and other family members are doing the same, then we can reduce the risk of getting cavities tremendously. Be sure to still teach your kids proper dental hygiene habits, and be sure to continue to schedule regular trips to your family dentist for yourself and your family.
A new technology on the horizon does not mean that we should throw out tried and true methods of dental care. Having excellent technology on hand for natural, biological solutions to cavity prevention and cavity treatment will make dental health easier for us all, but it won't replace our daily dental hygiene.