I tell you, sometimes putting a podcast episode together is like pulling teeth!

I was supposed to set up a dentist appointment for sometime in the next few weeks, but that’s on hold for a little while.

In the meantime I found some good dental news that might keep my teeth going until they’re back in the care of my dentist.

A team at King’s College London has been doing some research on tooth decay and other problems, and they’ve found evidence that a treatment may help teeth learn to repair themselves!

Or at least parts of the teeth.

The enamel on the outside of the teeth is nonliving tissue; while you can strengthen what’s there with those special toothpastes and so forth, it doesn’t grow back.

But underneath that enamel is the middle layer of the tooth, known as dentin.

This is the stuff that covers the soft dental pulp, the inner core of a tooth.

The dentin is living tissue, and under the right circumstances it might be able to grow back and better protect areas where it had worn away.

The researchers have been testing a drug called Tideglusib, which appears to stimulate stem cells in the tooth to create more dentin.

Their study found the new material was similar to the original dentin, so it’s not adding new bone in there, for example.

And there appears to be no negative effects on the tooth pulp, which is good because protecting that is sort of the dentin’s original job.

The scientists think there’s a lot of potential here, but there’s still a lot of testing ahead, so we’re not yet at the point where someone with a cavity gets a prescription for two weeks instead of a filling.

I mean, if you’re a scientist, you want to make sure your proposed treatment doesn’t – wait for it – bite off more than it can chew.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and normally that would mean parades everywhere and the Chicago River turning green and revelry of all kinds.

While most of that is on hold, we still at least have Irish potato candies, which are – wait, don’t make that face!

They only look like potatoes.

They’re little ball-shaped candies full of coconut, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and cream, dipped in cinnamon for that brown potato sheen.

These have been around for years in the Philadelphia area and have become a big part of local St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

If you can’t get hold of any from the store, there are recipes online to try making them yourself at home.

Enjoy the holiday, even if this time around it ain’t easy being green.

Further evidence shows clinical viability of natural tooth repair method (King’s College London)

Irish Potato Candies Are the Best St. Patrick’s Day Treat You’ve Never Heard Of (Chowhound)

Toy teeth photo by Andy Wright via Flickr/Creative Commons