Sensitive teeth can make that summer ice cream a little less sweet. But there may be some help in sight for that cold-induced tooth pain: A new material developed with a green tea extract may fight tooth sensitivity, a new study in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces suggests.
Tooth sensitivity occurs when a protective coating on the crowns of your teeth called enamel or the layer covering your tooth root called cementum wear away, revealing a bony tissue called dentin.
Without the protective coating, heat or cold can reach the nerves inside the tooth, causing hypersensitivity or a sharp pain when you eat something hot or cold.
Dentists usually use a mineral called nanohydroxyapatite to plug up tubes in the dentin to stop the liquids and food from reaching the nerves. Problem is, the material doesn’t last long, and doesn’t really stand up well to regular brushing or exposure to acid produced by bacteria in your mouth, the researchers said in a statement.
That’s when the researchers decided to combine a green tea extract called EGCG—which previous studies have shown to fight the bacteria that causes the buildup of cavity-promoting plaque—with nanohydroxyapatite in silica particles, which can stand up to wear and tear.
When they tested the combination on extracted wisdom teeth, they found it plugged up dentin, released ECGC for at least 96 hours, and prevented plaque formation and tooth erosion.
This shows that the material may be good candidate to fight booth tooth sensitivity and cavities, the researchers say.
Still, the research is still very preliminary, and the material isn’t available for use yet. In the meantime, check out 6 weird tooth pains, explained, to see how you can ease your sensitive teeth now.