Dementia currently affects 850,000 in the UK, however the condition remains without an effective treatment.
However, a new drug is currently being trialled to help cure Alzheimer’s disease, and scientists have discovered that it may put a smile back on a sufferer’s face in more ways than one.
Tideglusib was in the process of being tested on mice when researchers came across an unexpected side-effect it had on teeth.
It was revealed in the study by King’s College London published earlier this year to promote tooth regrowth and repair cavities.
Normally cavities – the term for tooth decay – would be treated with fillings.
But this discovery could change the way dentists solve the common oral issue.
Researchers believe that tideglusib has the useful effect because it stimulates stem cells in the pulp of teeth, the source of new dentine – which is the bony tissue beneath the enamel.
While teeth can naturally regenerate dentine without help, it is only under certain circumstances and with a very thin layer.
Tideglusib seems to be much more effective than this at repairing teeth because it turns off an enzyme which stops dentine from forming.
In the study, researchers found that once dentine growth was triggered, tooth damage could be repaired in just six weeks.
If the method was to be incorporated into standard dental treatment it would first need to be tested on humans.
“Using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics,” said Paul Sharpe, lead author and King’s College London Dental Institute Professor, to The Telegraph.
“The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine.”
Dental cavities are the most common form of oral disease.
If left untreated, a cavity can destroy your tooth and kill nerves.
Certain factors increase your risk of getting them, including sugary foods and drink, inadequate brushing and not getting enough fluoride which is added to many toothpastes and mouthwashes.