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Could Aspirin Cure Cavities?

If you’re one of the 91 percent of Americans with dental caries or cavities, you know what a pain they can be. But good news may soon be on the way from a team of researchers at Queens University in Belfast, Ireland. The study, which was discussed at the British Society for Oral and Dental Research annual meeting in September, claims that dentists may someday be able to use aspirin to heal dental cavities.


"The Queens University researchers found that aspirin was able to stimulate the growth of stem cells within the teeth, and actually regrow the tooth’s dentine, which is the basic structure of the tooth," says Dr. Michelle Simpson of Wilmington, North Carolina. "The aspirin kind of supercharges the stem cells of the teeth, allowing them to regenerate that lost structure."

According to Simpson, this is huge news, because as of yet there has been no product able to regrow lost dentine or heal damaged teeth.

"If you broke your arm, your bone would be set and eventually it would heal. Teeth don’t work that way. Once you damage a tooth, you can repair it with fillings, but it doesn’t heal itself," she says. "If the researchers in this study are successful, this could be a game-changer for cavities."

Simpson says that although fillings work well to repair cavity damage, they don’t go far enough, because they can never quite replicate the structural integrity of the original tooth.

"They also need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years, or sooner," Simpson says, "which wouldn’t need to happen if the tooth was able to heal itself."

Using aspirin as a growth promoter would also help ease pain and reduce inflammation as the tooth heals. The innovation will next head to clinical trials.

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