Scientists have found that aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay, which could reduce the need for fillings (tampalan) as explained by Daily Mail.
Facts and figures about tooth decay
- Tooth decay is the world’s most common dental disease, it has affected one out of three adults.
- Around 7 million fillings were carried out each year in England
- Based on a study by the Malaysian Health Ministry, nine out of 10 Malaysian adults have experienced periodontal disease (gum) and tooth decay.
- Dental health awareness is still low among Malaysians.
- About 30% of Malaysian adults were found to have oral health problems which affected their quality of life such as self-confidence, problems with social interaction and pain during eating, as explained on Bernama .
According to a research team at Queen’s University Belfast lead by Dr Ikhlas El Karim, aspirin, that is already licensed for human use, could offer an instant and innovative solution as it helps our teeth to repair themselves.”
The senior lecturer at the university’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, added “This new approach does not just increase the longevity of teeth as it also helps the National Health Service of London (NHS) and other healthcare systems worldwide to save money.”
Weakness of current choice of fillings
The most common type of filling – an amalgam – is made from a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, copper and zinc, and costs patients at least £56.30 on the NHS.
But the Belfast team say the metallic filling does not follow the tooth’s natural structure and will need to be replaced many times during the patient’s life time as reported by Express.
How does aspirin self- repair teeth?
Tooth decay occurs when acid from within the mouth dissolves the enamel (the hardest and most external part of teeth) and dentine (tissue under the enamel) of teeth causing formation of holes.
The destructive acid is produced when bacteria that are found within the plaque (a sticky and thin film that builds up on our teeth) reacts with sugar.
If the plaque is allowed to build up, the acid can begin to break down the surface of your tooth, causing holes known as cavities.
The cavity will then begin to eat away at the second level of tooth material that lies beneath the enamel: the dentin. Tooth decay can lead to tooth ache which is caused by inflammation due to exposed nerve endings. This could end up with removal of the infected tooth as explained by Daily Mail .
The new research findings, which were presented at the British Society for Oral and Dental Research Annual Conference in Plymouth, found that low-dose aspirin has significantly increased’ the rebuilding of minerals which restores the teeth strength and function. It also stimulated existing stem cells in the tooth to regenerate the damaged tooth structure.