Tooth sensitivity can be treated, but many current approaches don’t last long. New research reported in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces describes the development of a new material with an extract from green tea that could treat tooth sensitivity and also help prevent caries in these susceptible patients. Plugging dentinal tubules with the mineral nanohydroxyapatite is a long-standing approach to treating sensitivity, but the material doesn’t stand up well to regular brushing, grinding, erosion or acid produced by caries-causing bacteria. Cui Huang and colleagues wanted to tackle sensitivity and beat the bacteria at the same time. The researchers encapsulated nanohydroxyapatite and a green tea polyphenol—epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG—in silica nanoparticles, which can stand up to acid and wear and tear. EGCG has been shown in previous studies to fight Streptococcus mutans, which forms biofilms that cause caries. Testing on extracted wisdom teeth showed that the material plugged the dentinal tubules, released EGCG for at least 96 hours, stood up to tooth erosion and brushing, and prevented biofilm formation. Based on these findings, the researchers say the material could indeed be a good candidate for combating tooth sensitivity and caries.
(Source: American Chemical Society. “An end to cavities for people with sensitive teeth?” ScienceDaily, August 2, 2017)