New research has revealed that the natural ‘glue’ used by mussels to attach themselves to rocks could be the cure for sensitive teeth. Scientists have used the sticky secretions to create a compound that could help rebuild areas of enamel that have started to erode over time.
Tooth sensitivity is a huge problem in the UK, with three quarters of the country suffering from it at some stage; there are chewing gums and tooth pastes that can help temporarily but researchers at the University of Hong Kong are hoping to develop a treatment that could restore the minerals and get rid of the problem permanently.
Scientists created a sticky polydopamine that was mixed with calcium and phosphate to reform dentine and enamel. Authors of the research said that the product may provide ‘a simple universal technique to induce enamel and dentine remineralisation simultaneously.’
The breakthrough came when studies last year showed that human teeth are as strong as shark teeth, with an enamel outer layer and an elastic dentine layer beneath; a discovery that experts are hoping can assist in the manufacture and repair of dentures. Professor Matthias Epple – lead author of the original study – said that ‘It would be great if, sometime in the future, one could repair teeth with a material which is more natural than today’s provisional solutions.’