The human body is an amazing creation. For the most part, cells help the human body to fight infection, regenerate damaged tissue, and basically repair itself. But teeth are different, and typically when one goes bad, it’s compromised. Although there are living cells among a tooth’s roots, most of what is exposed to the world -- typically, what we eat and drink -- is the utilitarian but defenseless crown.
"Cells are what start the healing process in our bodies, and as tooth enamel consists of 90 percent minerals, there aren’t many proteins and cells there,” explains Janne Reseland, a professor of biomaterials at the University of Oslo.
A toothy question:
- Once decay gets through the enamel of a tooth and into the dentine, a dentist must remove the decay and replace it with a filling.
- Sharks don’t need dentists. If they lose a tooth, a new one will grow in its place.
- Animals don’t usually get cavities, because of their low-sugar diets. That was also true of early humans, before they began to consume more carbohydrates and sugars.