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Gross, Gooey, Good For Teeth

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Millions of people around the world suffer from sensitive teeth. Though not necessarily a major health issue, experiencing pain when eating or drinking hot, cold, sweet or sour foods reduces the enjoyment of eating your favorite foods and makes for awkward social situations. But a shellfish-inspired goo may soon be available to ease the situation.

Tooth sensitivity occurs when the hard outer enamel layer on teeth and the underlying dentin wear away, allowing the nerves inside to be overstimulated. Many dental products, such as special toothpastes and chewing gums, can help alleviate the hypersensitivity but do nothing to repair the damage.

Researchers in China, however, have taken a cue from Mother Nature in seeking a more permanent solution to the problem. Citing the need for substances that rebuild both enamel and dentin at the same time, they have turned to investigating a sticky substance similar to the adhesive that mussels use to adhere to underwater rocks and other surfaces. This compound could keep much-needed minerals directly on the teeth and in contact with dentin long enough that the rebuilding of both dentin and enamel could occur.

In laboratory tests, human teeth badly worn of enamel and dentin were bathed in the sticky material with minerals. These teeth were able to reform both dentin and enamel. Conversely, teeth bathed in minerals alone reformed only enamel.

In the full report in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, the researchers conclude that the gooey substance “may be a simple universal technique to induce enamel and dentin remineralization simultaneously.”

Filed Under: Alternative MedicineEasy Health Options News

About the Author: Kellye Copas Staff writer Kellye Copas has several years experience writing for the alternative health industry. Her background is in non-profit fundraising, copywriting and direct mail and web marketing.

Facebook Conversations

  • http://na Dr Pieter Dahler, DDS, MD ND (hon) PhD

    The reason why teeth become sensitive has been explained too simply here.
    Most sensitivities begin when the supporting bone around teeth, and the gums (gingivae) following it, pulls away exposing the ROOT surfaces of the teeth. Since there is no enamel layer over the roots, the inside living tissue, called the pulp, which was instrumental in making the teeth with is blood vessels and nerves (acting as a stimulus to do the growing) is more easily attacked. The roots are made of dentin which is a semi-living tooth material and consists of millions of microscopic tubes (tubules) filled with a fluid. Any exposure to unusual temperatures pushes or pulls (thrinking or expanding) the fluids. The resulting pressure on the pulp’s nerves is what is felt as pain. Excessive heat causes pain, cold causes relief as it shrinks the fluids, which are two ways to diagnose what is wrong with a painful tooth.
    Why does the supporting bone pull away from the teeth? Improper dental hygiene leading to inflammation and infections of the gums, grinding of the teeth (for various stress reasons), accidents to and improper develpment of the jaws, crooked teeth which are hard to clean properly, etc.
    Pain as a result of a decaying process above the gum line can certainly be helped with this described technology. BUT, the decaying material should still be removed to avoid an ongoing destructive process leading to ongoing pain and deeper in the teeth destruction.
    Disfigurement as the result of an erosion of weak tooth material (for many various reasons) can be repaired in this manner as well.

    • Peter Ilyk

      Thanks for the excellent response Dr Dahler. Your response certainly puts the issue into better perspective!

    • Peter Prinsen

      Dr Pieter Dahler:

      I think I know you from Grade school. Likely grade 2 to maybe 5 in Maarn Netherlands.my email is prinsenpeter@hotmail.com See if we can establish common ground regarding our past.

  • Larry McCuaig, PhD, Nutrition.

    An excessive phosphate/calcium ratio in the diet of most people causes spongy bone like the jawbone to release proteolitic enzymes, which dissolve both the bone and the adjacent gum tissue, exposing the roots, and eventually causing the teeth to fall out.

  • http://www.sussexdentalimplants.co.uk/ dental implants sussex

    Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects millions of people.Sensitive teeth are not only painful, but they can also begin to interfere with our daily life…but don’t let it rule your life.This post is a great job!Loved it!