(NaturalNews) A new hormone gel that may stimulate teeth to grow back the tissue destroyed by tooth decay, according to a study conducted by researchers from the National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Paris and published in the American Chemical Society's journal ACS Nano.
The gel is composed of a mix of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) and the drug-transporting chemical poly-L-glutamic acid. MSH causes the body to produce more melanin, responsible for skin color. Recent research has suggested that it can also stimulate bone regrowth.
In studies conducted on human dental cells, the MSH gel led to the growth of new dental cells and their adhesion to existing cells. When the gel was applied to the decaying teeth of live mice, the cavities completely disappeared within one month.
It will take at least three to five years to develop the gel into a medical product. If all goes well, the gel may render dental drills obsolete. The researchers believe that because the gel stimulates the regrowth of the body's own cells, the rebuilt teeth would be just as strong as the old ones -- in contrast with artificial fillings, which can fall out or wear down. The gel would also be painless to apply and would not require anesthesia.
Of course, it is still best to avoid fillings in the first place by means of good dental hygiene. A good diet can go even farther, notes Michael Pollan in his book In Defense of Food.
"In the 1930s an argument raged in medical circles as to whether hygiene or nutrition was the key to understanding and treating tooth decay," Pollan writes.
"That hygiene ultimately won the day had as much to do with the needs of the dental profession as it did with good science; the problem of personal hygiene was easier, and far more profitable, to address than that of the diet and entire food system."