AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Sticky Mussels and Sensitive Teeth


Do you ever fell discomfort while eating a certain type of food? According to a recent study a substance similar to one found in nature may be able to prevent tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is a problem that millions of people face on a daily bases. This pain can be caused by consuming hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks, or even by breathing cold air.

Tooth sensitivity occurs when “the hard outer enamel layer on teeth and the softer underlying dentin wear away, stimulating the nerves inside.”  Quan-Li Li and  Chun Hung Chu are currently researching a sticky substance like the one mussels use to stick to a substance in the water. This substance will allow minerals to stick to teeth for a long enough period of time for the dentin and the enamel to rebuild. This would be a huge step in the recovery of teeth that have been worn down, being the first product to be able to help teeth rebuild the worn down dentin. There are some products out there that help rebuild enamel, but the damaged dentin still remains untouched.

The work with this new substance may lead to other medical discoveries that can take advantage of this super adhesive. Personally I believe that the work being done with this new substance will help save toothaches and maybe even lives all over the world.

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  1. explodingllama342

    I used to have REALLY sensitive teeth; even going out in the cold hurt them! This link from the American Dental Association talks about the top causes of tooth sensitivity and treatments. From some people, it can be pretty debilitating.

  2. dwil

    This is an interesting post about a very common yet annoying discomfort. I have had “sensitive teeth” for my entire life and no dentist has really been able to do anything for it. Having a way to rebuild and strengthen enamel would help very much in that respect. Here is another article on some ways to deal with the discomfort. I hope to see an end to these pains soon!

  3. arthenice

    Great research. Tooth sensitivity is a problem that effects a lot of people. The most common culprit can be your diet. Food with a low pH or acidic foods weaken your enamel, some examples: lemons, oranges, apples and strawberries. Once the enamel is eroded, plaque or a biofilm (which communicates through quorum signaling) builds in these crevices.

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