Current approaches to treating tooth sensitivity don’t last very long. Now, a team of Chinese researchers has developed a material based on an extract from green tea that provides longer relief and may help prevent cavities as well.
Sensitivity occurs when teeth are worn down to the dentin and to the hollow microscopic tubes found there. When hot and cold liquids and food contact the underlying nerve endings in the teeth via these exposed tubes, pain follows. Unprotected dentin also is vulnerable to cavity formation.
Typically, these tubes are plugged with nanohydroxyapatite, which doesn’t stand up well to regular brushing, grinding, erosion, or acid produced by bacteria. The researchers, though, encapsuled nanohydroxyapatite and a green tea polyphenol known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in silica nanoparticles, which can stand up to acid and wear and tear.
Testing on extracted wisdom teeth showed that the material plugged the dentin tubules, released EGCG for at least 96 hours, stood up to tooth erosion and brushing, and prevented the growth of Streptococcus mutans and biofilm formation. It also showed low toxicity.
Based on these findings, the researchers say the material could be a good candidate for combating tooth sensitivity and cavities. The study, “Development of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate-Encapsulated Nanohydroxyapatite/Mesoporous Silica for Therapeutic Management of Dentin Surface,” was published by Applied Materials & Interfaces.