The sensitivity occurs when the tooth's enamel degrades, exposing tiny, porous tubes and allowing underlying nerves to become more vulnerable to hot and cold food. Current treatments available, including special toothpastes, mainly work by blocking the openings of the tubes. But the seal they create is superficial and doesn't stand up to the wear-and-tear of daily brushing and chewing. Mr. Lin's team wanted to find a more durable and long-lasting way to address the condition.
The researchers made a novel paste based on the elements found in teeth, namely calcium and phosphorus. They tested it by first applying the mixture to dogs' teeth and found that it plugged exposed tubes more deeply than other treatments. This depth could be the key to tackle the condition to repairing damaged enamel and providing longer-lasting relief from tooth sensitivity, according to the researchers. The authors acknowledge funding from Taiwan's National Science Council and the National Taiwan University Hospital.