Hormone may be key to regenerating teeth

A new peptide embedded in a soft gel or a thin, flexible film and placed next to dental decay encourages cells inside the teeth to regenerate in about a month, according to a story on Discovery News about a new animal study (ACS Nano, June 2010, Vol. 4:6, pp. 3277-3287).

The gel or thin film contains a peptide known as melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH). Previous experiments have shown that MSH encourages bone regeneration and possesses anti-inflammatory properties, according to Discovery News.

A group of researchers from several French universities reasoned that if the MSH were applied to teeth, it should help healing as well. They applied either a film or gel, both of which contained MSH, to mice teeth that already had caries lesions.

After about a month the decay had disappeared, one of the researchers told Discovery News.

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