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Radio Shows | How About Re-Growing Teeth? | mp3wmawav

How About Re-Growing Teeth?Hey Norbert, you and I have both been spending far too much time at the dentistís office lately.

Yea, I think Iíve paid for his new boat and contributed to his kidís college fund.

Me too. Wouldnít it be great to be like sharks and have extra rows of teeth ready to replace any teeth that are damaged or lost?

Thatíd be incredible since Americans who are twenty years and older are missing an average of four teeth due to gum disease, trauma or congenital defects.

But that can be a thing of the past if a recent discovery leads to new teeth.

Scientists have isolated a single gene called osr2 that prevents the growth of extra teeth in certain species like humans and mice. So In this study when scientists eliminated the osr2 gene in mice, the rodents actually developed extra teeth next to their first molars!

Hereís how the osr2 gene functions in humans. It works with two other genes to ensure that teeth form properly. It also shuts off those genes after our second set of teeth have formed so that additional tooth development stops.

One of those genes is the bone morphogenic protein 4 which is key to initiating teeth. The other gene encodes a protein called Msx1 to amplify the tooth generating signal. So, what if scientists were able to turn these genes back on by eliminating the osr2 gene?

Thereís only one problem. In studies, the mice lacking the osr2 gene also had cleft palates severe enough to kill.

This has implications for women who are pregnant or plan to be.

So rather than eliminate the osr2 gene, scientists would have to learn to turn it off when tooth development is needed and then turn it on again.

Imagine growing new teeth at seventy!

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For more information…

An article that describes the research that identified the genes that seem to limit mammals to a single row of teeth, but sharks get more can be read here. The article also provides information about eh basics of tooth formation and growth. A similar report of the research was published on the web here.

Since you only get once set of adult teeth, information about tooth decay and its prevention can be found at the American Dental Association website .

KidsHealth is a web site that is more than just the facts about health. As part of The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, KidsHealth also provides families with perspective, advice, and comfort about a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral issues that affect children and teens. Their information about cavities for kids and their parents can be read here.

For a video about how teeth grow go here.

For information about the anatomy of teeth go here.


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