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Shark tooth regeneration versus human tooth regeneration
26 Nov. 2019

Shark tooth regeneration versus human tooth regeneration

More and more Americans have problems with their teeth. This is because of genetic reasons and also because of poor oral hygiene. But what if human teeth regeneration could be possible? Since shark teeth regeneration is. By studying how sharks regrow their teeth, scientist have faith that in the future they may find a solution for human teeth regeneration too.

Sharks have the ability to continuously regenerate their teeth. They lose at least 30.000 teeth over a lifetime, but each lost tooth can be regrown over a period of days or months. A shark is capable to replace lost teeth as many as 50 times over the course of his lifetime.

Meanwhile, humans develop only two sets of teeth in their lives (milk and permanent teeth). These two sets are often not enough and we need implants, crowns bridges, dentures in order to properly maintain our teeth’s functionality. The question which appears here is what if we could discover the genetic cause for shark’s ability to regrow their teeth and use it to develop methods of growing new teeth in humans?

Researchers have found out that within the epithelial cells in the sharks’ mouth there are special areas with stem cells that are responsible for their continuous tooth regeneration. These cells are called dental lamina. All vertebrate teeth are very similar, which means that by studying sharks’ teeth we may discover why humans have lost their regenerative ability and find a way to start forming new teeth within the mouth using stem cells.

Many labs around the world are focused on various ways to develop new human teeth. The point is that if we retain cells with future regenerative potential, we might be able to culture our own sources of “stem” cells to start the process of early tooth development. We could then implement these cells into toothless regions of the jaw when new teeth are needed. Keep in mind that these are not the stem cells associated with a fetus. They are the natural stem cells that already exist in our mouth.

Scientists have found that humans and sharks share the same gene network that allow sharks to regrow their teeth. We could have the ability to regrow our teeth if we can find a way to switch these genes on. These genes in people die off or break down after our milk teeth and our adult teeth grow. There is a possibility we can re-invigorate them with future dental therapies. This could change dentistry forever. Since we have the same genes to make teeth, we also have a regenerative program. The study was done by researchers from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences from the University of Sheffields, led by Gareth Fraser.

As you could see above, progress related to human tooth regeneration has been started. Researchers are optimistics and assure us that they will manage to make possible tooth regeneration for people and not only for sharks. We are looking forward to seeing their discoveries and their progress regarding this issue. Until then, do not forget to brush your teeth twice a day, floss and eat healthy food.

Did this article increase you interest regarding these kind of topics? If the answer is “yes”, do not hesitate to contact Premier Smiles. Dr. Arhiri is here to answer to your question and also to keep you updated with the latest news in dentistry.