Oral Health Research: Neutrophils Break Down Dentin and Cured Composite Resin
Following decades of research indicating that bacteria are responsible for tooth decay, the need for fillings and restorations, a new study, conducted by a number of University of Toronto oral health researchers and titled Human neutrophils degrade methacrylate resin composites and tooth dentin, is now pointing to a long-ignored culprit: neutrophils.
A type of white blood cell, neutrophils have up until now been best known for fighting inflammation. However, the research team has shown that the body’s immune system itself may be causing tooth decay and failing composite and other restorations.
Building on a theory proposed 50-years ago by John Gabrovsek, in the Cleveland Clinic, and published in the Journal of Dental Research (1970), the research team used neutrophils isolated from blood to coat parts of extracted teeth and cured composite resin. Within the body, neutrophils reach the mouth via the gums and roots of the teeth. Then, they measured the level of teeth degradation at intervals of 2, 4, 24, and 48 hours and the degradation of cured composite resin degradation at intervals of 48 and 96 hours.
Within a few hours, researchers found dentin and the cured composite resin had sustained damage.
According to the study co-author, Dr. Michael Glogauer, “We can actually see them breaking down using electron microscopy.”
The team’s research also confirms the breakdown of by-products can only come from neutrophils. The reason? When bacteria is present in the mouth, neutrophils are activated and release “attack” enzymes. These enzymes attack mouth bacteria creating acids that degrade teeth and resins in the process.
Study co-author, Dr. Yoav Finer, explained that “On their own, neutrophils are incapable of causing damage to the teeth. They [neutrophils] don’t have acid, so they can’t do much to mineralized tooth structures.”
Today, the team is setting their sights on isolating the type of enzymes that damage teeth and finding ways to control or limit the damage caused by neutrophils, for example using mouth rinse.
We want to hear from you!
Leave a comment about this post in the box below, send your feedback by email or call us at 1-855-716-2747.
Until next time!
CDA Oasis Team