Biting and chewing trigger tooth growth
Dental Tribune International
SYDNEY, Australia: Research conducted by the University of Sydney has found chewing and biting to be the cause of adult teeth breaking through the gums rather than an innate, unknown force. The researchers used CT scan images of an eight-year-old child’s mandible to design a 3-D model that could be used to observe the forces produced by the jaw when biting and chewing. The aim of the research was to show the stress dispersion within the jaw as a person bites and chews.
“We designed the hard and soft tissues in the jaw and input the data we had about jaw movements into the software,” luvtm said Dr Babak Sarrafpour, an oral and maxillofacial pathologist and dentist at the University of Sydney. “We simulated both the back teeth and front teeth
chewing and we could assess the stress on the teeth, bone and soft tissue.”
The multidisciplinary team at the university found that the chewing and biting actions of the jaw deform the thin layer of soft tissue surrounding the teeth that are yet to appear, which forces them outwards. During the study, a number of other hypotheses were investigated that were still unsupported by clinical evidence. “There were a number of hypotheses surrounding how adult teeth erupted. Perhaps it was from the root forming and pushing the tooth towards the oral cavity, maybe it was the blood pressure in the dental pulp or perhaps it was the periodontal ligaments forming and contracting, pushing against the tooth,” said Sarrafpour.
However, a number of studies have shown that even with the disconnection of the root and the ligaments from the tooth, the eruption through the bone would still happen. Therefore, the researchers developed another theory. “Perhaps soft tissue dental follicle around unerupted adult teeth acts as a mechanosensor in response to biting forces and remodels the surrounding bone in a way that carries the tooth to the mouth,” Sarrafpour explained.
The team believes that this study could result in further preventive treatments that could change the tooth angle before it erupts, rather than depending on orthodontic bands or braces to realign the tooth later in life.
More information about the research project can be found at the university’s website.