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Grape seeds may be key to increasing durability of dental fillings

CHICAGO, USA: According to a new study, a natural compound found in grape seed extract, which has been shown to have several health benefits, could be used to strengthen dentin and increase the life of resin fillings. The findings could lead to the development of a natural adhesive material that helps reinforce the bond between the tooth and the filling, hence prolonging the life of the restoration and minimizing dental tissue and tooth loss.

In the study, Dr. Ana Bedran-Russo, lead researcher and associate professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, investigated how grape seed extract might render composite resin fillings stronger and more durable. Such fillings typically last five to seven years.

As resins have to bind to the dentin, the area between the two, is a weak point, causing restorations to breakdown and the formation of dental caries, Bedran-Russo said. However, by reinforcing the interface, the extract can increase the strength of the dentin, she explained.

Dentin is mostly made of collagen, the main structural protein in skin and other connective tissue. In the study, Bedran-Russo and her co-researchers discovered that damaged collagen can repair itself with a combination of plant-based oligomeric proanthocyanidins—flavonoids found in most foods and vegetables—and extracts from grape seeds. Interlocking the resin and collagen-rich dentin provides better adhesion and does not rely on moisture.

The findings may have important implications for restorative dentistry and overall health. Rather than removing diseased tooth structure and replacing it with restorative materials, patients will have treatment options that help them remain free of caries.

According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 23 percent of children aged 2–5 have dental caries in their primary dentition. Among adults aged 20–64, 91 percent have dental caries and 27 percent untreated tooth decay.

It is known that grape seed extract contains antioxidants, which have the potential to destroy free radicals that can damage DNA and cause cell death. Scientists believe free radicals contribute to aging, as well as the development of a number of health problems, including heart disease and cancer.

The study, titled “Biostability of the proanthocyanidins–dentin complex and adhesion studies,” was published in the April issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

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