Green tea extract can help to treat tooth sensitivity
But researchers have now developed a new material to better protect sensitive teeth, using green tea polyphenols.
The reason that tooth sensitivity occurs is because the protective enamel layer on the tooth’s surface gets eroded, thereby exposing the tooth’s next layer of bony tissue, which is called dentin.
Dr. Huang and colleagues set out to create a “versatile biomaterial” using the traditional material nanohydroxyapatite but adding a key ingredient: a green tea compound. The scientists encapsulated this mix into so-called mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN). Due to the medium size of their pores (or mesoporosity) and their surface properties, MSNs are widely used as drug carriers.
As the authors explain, they chose MSNs because they have been shown to have unique resistance to harmful, cavity-inducing acid, as well as demonstrating a “superior mechanical strength.” Using a technique called confocal laser scanning microscopy, the researchers tested the ability of the newly developed biomaterial to block the formation of the biofilm that S. mutans normally forms on the dentin’s surface.
Additionally, they performed biological assays and cytotoxicity tests on pulp tissues of extracted premolars and third molars, or wisdom teeth. The tests revealed that the new biomaterial successfully blocked the dentin’s microtubules and reduced dentin permeability. Additionally, the material released EGCG continuously for more than 96 hours.
The material also proved to be resistant to erosion and abrasion, as well as protecting against the S. mutans biofilm. The material “significantly [inhibited] the formation and growth of S. mutans biofilm on the dentin surface,” the authors write. To their knowledge, this is the first time that such results have been obtained. Dr. Huang and colleagues are hopeful that this material will successfully treat tooth sensitivity. “Thus, the development of [the new material] bridges the gap between multifunctional concept and dental clinical practice and is promising in providing dentists a therapeutic strategy for the management of the dentin surface to counter dentin hypersensitivity and caries.”
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