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At City Dental, downtown Portland dental expert Dr. Jason Bajuscak wants every patient to enjoy the very best oral health possible. One of the most underrated aspects of your oral health is the mouth’s ability to create saliva. Your saliva acts as the body’s natural defense mechanism that helps to protect your oral and overall health.
Saliva washes away food particles that linger in the mouth after eating, and helps to neutralize harmful bacteria in the mouth from damaging tooth enamel. Unfortunately, considering saliva’s vital role, millions of people suffer from dry mouth.
While a number of oral health problems can cause dry mouth to occur, the most common cause of the condition is prescription medications. With more Americans taking prescription medications than ever before, more people are being exposed to side effects that include dry mouth.
Now the results of a new study may offer hope to those suffering from dry mouth and improve their oral health. Tissue engineering could be the key that eliminates dry mouth.
Dentist in Portland – A New Answer for Dry Mouth
The silkworm, more commonly appreciated for producing the essential elements required to make fine silk fabric, also plays an important role in a new process designed to provide relief for millions of people suffering from dry mouth.
Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center are the first to use silk fibers as the foundation to grow stem cells into salivary glands cells.
While we’ve covered the role saliva plays in protecting an individual’s oral health above, insufficient saliva can cause chronic bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease and systemic infection.
Currently no treatment exists to help patients suffering from nonfunctioning or low-producing saliva glands, and the glands also have little regenerative abilities.
The research team’s new process is the first significant step towards helping the 4 million Americans who suffer from the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome, which causes the body to attack its own tear ducts and saliva glands.
Low saliva flow is also a problem for thousands of patients who undergo radiation treatment for neck and head cancers, as well as about 50 percent of senior Americans taking medications that cause dry mouth.
Dentist in Portland – Regeneration Process
Saliva gland stem cells ranks as some of the most difficult cells to grown while still maintaining their function, according to researchers.
In their new process, researchers were able to purify silk fibers by removing any contaminants. They then added stem cells from the saliva glands of rats on to the silk framework. After several weeks being cultured, the cells produced a matrix capable of reproducing the qualities of silk. These new cells featured many of the same characteristics as saliva gland cells that grow in the mouth, reported researchers.
The process of how to regenerate saliva gland cells was published in the journal Tissue Engineering.
Dentist in Portland – Better Oral Health in the Future
While the process of creating new saliva gland cells sounds quite futuristic, this type of research is providing dentists in Portland like Dr. Bajuscak the tools needed to improve patients’ oral health in the present.
As more research continues to make exciting new discoveries related to improving your oral health, we’ll continue to let you know what the future holds in Dr. Basjucaks’ Dentist in Portland Blog!