Many people pass on hot or cold drinks because they know they’ll aggravate their sensitive teeth.
But current toothpastes designed for easing sensitivity do not have long-lasting effects.
Now scientists have invented a new formula made with an extract from green tea that could fix this problem – and help prevent cavities.
Indeed, dental erosion is often the most common cause of pain or discomfort to the teeth.
A phytochemical in the herbal drink has previously been shown to fight a bacteria which causes tooth decay.
The new mixture combines this with an ingredient commonly used in sensitive toothpastes and an essential mineral for strong teeth.
Scientists have developed a new toothpaste formula using green tea extract for sensitive teeth that relieves discomfort and helps prevent cavities (file photo)
A CUP OF GREEN TEA A DAY KEEPS THE DENTIST AWAY
Drinking at least one cup of green tea a day increases the odds of keeping your teeth as you age, according to a study from Japan.
The researchers suspect that antimicrobial molecules called catechins present in green tea and in lesser amounts in oolong tea provide the benefit.
But be careful if you take your tea with sugar: sweetener may negate the effect, it was found.
‘Green tea may have bacteriocidal effects, which would affect teeth, but only if you drink it without sugar,’ says Alfredo Morabia of Columbia University in New York and editor of Preventive Medicine, which published the findings.
‘They also reported that drinking sweet coffee was actually deleterious,’ he sdds. ‘Coffee alone had no problem, but sweet coffee would actually make you lose your teeth.’
Yasushi Koyama of the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine and colleagues looked at more than 25,000 Japanese men and women between age 40 and 64 years.
They found that men who drank at least one cup of tea a day were 19 percent less likely to have fewer than 20 teeth (a full set including wisdom teeth is 32) than those who did not drink green tea. Tea-drinking women had 13 percent lower odds.
The findings appears in the journal Preventive Medicine.
Why sensitivity occurs
When the protective layers of teeth are worn away, a bony tissue called dentin is exposed.
This tissue contains microscopic hollow tubes that, when exposed, allow hot and cold liquids and food to contact the underlying nerve endings in the teeth, causing pain. Unprotected dentin is also vulnerable to cavity formation.
Plugging these tubes with a mineral called 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 cavity-causing bacteria, explain the researchers.
Cui Huang from Wuhan University in China and colleagues wanted to tackle sensitivity and beat the bacteria at the same time.
The researchers took nanohydroxyapatite and a green tea extract epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG – which has been shown to fight streptococcus mutans, which forms biofilms that cause cavities.
These ingredients were combined with the mineral silica nanoparticles, which can stand up to acid and wear and tear.
The team tested this on extracted wisdom teeth and found that the formula plugged the dentin tubules.
It also released EGCG for at least 96 hours and stood up to tooth erosion and abrasive brushing and prevented biofilm formation.
It also showed low toxicity, say the researchers.
Green tea compounds also act as a natural breath freshener, according to Dr Tim Bond from health group The Tea Advisory Panel.
He said: ‘It is well known that green tea catechins have number of benefits for dental and oral hygiene.
‘The catechins (such as EGCG) stop adhesion of sugar containing materials – the basis of plaque, upon which bacteria feed – producing acids which accelerate erosion of the tooth surface.
‘Their anti-bacterial effect also stops bacterial growth often causing dental pain and bad breath.
‘A further action is that catechins ‘capture’ bad smelling sulphur compounds a natural breath freshener.
‘This new research builds on green teas known effects and is an insightful addition to dental research’.
The study was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.