You know that the key to a great smile is keeping your pearly whites in top-notch shape. The best way to do that? By taking really good care of your tooth enamel.

Hey Kids, here is some candy!  All kidding aside, this could be an amazing advancement if the technology holds true in the coming years.

Colorful fish found in Africa may hold the secret to growing lost teeth. In a collaborative study between the Georgia Institute of Technology and King’s College London, researchers looked at the cichlid fishes of Lake Malawi in Africa, who lose teeth just to have a new one slide into place. Their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, identifies the genes responsible for growing new teeth and may lead to the secret to "tooth regeneration" in humans.

Working with hundreds of these colorful fish, researchers are beginning to understanding how the animals maintain their hundreds of teeth throughout their adult lives. By studying how structures in embryonic fish differentiate into either teeth or taste buds, the researchers hope to one day be able to turn on the tooth regeneration mechanism in humans – which, like other mammals, get only two sets of teeth to last a lifetime.

The work, which also involved a study of dental differentiation in mice, shows that the structures responsible for growing new teeth may remain active for longer than previously thought, suggesting that the process might be activated in human adults.

The research was supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Worldwide, approximately 30 percent of persons have lost all their teeth by the time they reach the age of 60. Beyond the painful dental health issues, this can causes significant medical and nutritional problems that can shorten life.


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