By Pat Hagan
Open wide: Thanks to a new gel, soon this won't hurt
A gel that can help decayed teeth grow back in just weeks may mean an end to fillings.
The gel, which is being developed by scientists in France, works by prompting cells in teeth to start multiplying. They then form healthy new tooth tissue that gradually replaces what has been lost to decay.
Researchers say in lab studies it took just four weeks to restore teeth back to their original healthy state. The gel contains melanocyte-stimulating hormone, or MSH.
We produce this in the pituitary gland, a pea-sized gland just behind the bridge of the nose.
MSH is already known to play an important part in determining skin colour - the more you have, the darker your flesh tone.
But recent studies suggest MSH may also play a crucial role in stimulating bone regeneration.
As bone and teeth are very similar in their structure, a team of scientists at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Paris tested if the hormone could stimulate tooth growth.