One of the biggest worries we have when it comes to our oral health is the possibility of losing our teeth, either naturally or because of an accident. But what if we could grow them back?
Two new pieces of pioneering research have given hope that this could one day be a reality.
In the first of these, scientists in America created tooth buds which can grow and look like natural teeth. The second shows how tooth stem cells can be used to partially repair teeth that have been damaged.
Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation believes that, while this may be a long way from becoming a reality, the prospect of re-growing our own teeth is highly exciting.
Dr Carter says: “Millions of people across the world lose teeth for many different reasons. Tooth loss can happen because of an unfortunate accident, poor oral health or another illness. But no matter how we lose them, missing teeth can mean problems in our everyday life. Missing teeth can affect how we eat, smile and speak. It can even have an impact on our confidence and mental well-being”.
Current options to replace missing teeth include bridges, dentures and implants. These are effective ways to replace lost teeth but given the choice people would always prefer to have their own natural teeth.
Scientific breakthroughs in similar fields have already led to developments in many other areas of healthcare, such as prosthetics and tissue regeneration.