Prompt It in the Bud | God's World News

Prompt It in the Bud

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    A Japanese company is developing a drug that could help people develop new teeth. (123RF)
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    The drug caused a ferret to develop a new tooth. (Toregem Bio Pharma Co.)
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    Dogs, mice, and ferrets grew new teeth with the drug. (Toregem Bio Pharma Co.)
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    Baby teeth start to form before a child is born. Later, adult teeth grow in. (Public domain)
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    Maybe one day, people will be able to regrow teeth instead of using dentures. (Whitney Curtis/AP)
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God has an amazing plan for mouths. Teeth come in, fall out, grow back . . . and sometimes fall out again. But did you know that this cycle begins long before the first white nub pushes through a gum? Now a Japanese company hopes to extend the tooth cycle by prompting new teeth to grow from old buds.

God made a baby’s teeth to develop before birth when He “knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13) In the first three to six weeks of life, soft tissue forms tiny clear nubs. After a few more weeks, hard tissue encases the nubs. Then roots start to form. By the time of baby’s first cry, a newborn already has 20 fully formed teeth waiting under the gums! Within about six months, those baby teeth begin to break through the gumline.

Young children keep those first teeth for several years. In time, the baby teeth’s roots die and dissolve. Adult teeth push the baby teeth out for good.

Most people keep their adult teeth for the remainder of their lives unless injury, decay, and age destroy those so-called “permanent” teeth. At that time, some folks turn to dentures or implants to replace missing teeth.

Until recently, that’s been the end of the cycle. But Japanese firm Toregem Biopharma wants to change that tooth trajectory. Scientists at Toregem are researching how to regrow teeth. To that end, they’ve developed a new drug. Toregem hopes the antibody drug will signal the body to replace its own teeth using dormant buds.

Dr. Katsu Takahashi developed this dental growth drug. Takahashi says some adults retain undeveloped buds beneath their gumlines. The new drug interacts with a protein that usually stops those buds from becoming teeth. Instead, it would thwart the protein and stimulate the buds to become full-fledged teeth. Voila! A dormant bud could become a functioning adult tooth.

So far, the drug has been used on dogs, mice, and ferrets. Those research animals successfully developed new teeth.

The drug hasn’t been tested on humans yet. But Toregem Biopharma plans to start human trials this summer. The test will involve helping people with a condition that keeps them from developing adult teeth.

Someday, restoring one’s choppers could be as simple as taking a pill or receiving a shot. And growing new teeth, according to Takahashi, is “every dentist’s dream.”

Why? Disease and decay damage teeth. But God may enable scientists to tap into a dental resource He already prepared.

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