Stem cells: Redefining the future of dentistry

Stem cells: Redefining the future of dentistry

Ostrow School of Dentistry recently discovered that stems cells found in our gums (Gingiva) are very special and have unique characteristics that could rebuild specific tissues to improve inflammatory disease and restore the nervous system.

“Gingiva contains very special multipotent stem cells” says Xingtian Xu, specialized lab technician at the Ostrow School of Dentistry Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology. Our gums have a less inflammatory reaction and heal much faster than most parts of our body. Multipotent stem cells, which are restricted in the type of cell they can become, can be found on our brain, blood, muscles, gut, liver, teeth and gums. The ones found in our gums are trained to develop into something great!

What are Stem Cells?

Our bodies are made up of many different types of cells. Our cells wear out in time, and sometimes they need to be replaced or rebuilt. Our taste buds are replaced every 10 days, skin cells every 2 weeks and the liver ones every 300 – 500 days. Just like maintaining your car, parts need to be substituted over time as part of a regular maintenance schedule. Our bodies do this for us, using stem cells that are waiting to receive the signal to go to work. Replacing old cells and repairing damage cells is the job of adult stem cells also known as “Somatic Cells”.

Somatic stem cells haven’t decided what they’re going to be; they haven’t specialised in their jobs yet, and stay undeveloped until they get the signal. Some somatic stem cells can specialise to become any type of cells – these are called pluripotent somatic cells, and they can be found in any part of the body, though they are difficult to find as there are not many of them.

Multipotent somatic stem cells are more common, but they are restricted in specialising in only a few different types of jobs.

There are 250 or more cell types that need to be substituted due to daily wear and tear. A somatic stem cell will wait in different areas of the body until they get called into action.

Why are Gum Cells so unique and special?

“Gingivae contain neural-crest and Mesoderm derived from mesenchymal Stem Cells”

What does that mean?

The stem cells found in Gingivae are multipotent, and can also be obtained via a simply biopsy. GMSC (Gingiva Multipotent Somatic Cells) are exceptional as they are made up of the building blocks which form the autonomic nervous system. They have advanced healing abilities, and they specialise in connective tissues, bone and cartilage, muscle and lymphatic and lymphoid organs. The gum cells also reproduce very quickly and efficiently.

These stem cells can reproduce and quickly rebuild a nervous system, and can be easily obtained. Thus, they can help curing many different ailments, such as inflammatory disease, leukaemia and any other illness that relies on the rebuilding of connective tissue, blood and the fast recover of the autonomic nervous systems.