Having an ice cream, a drink with a lot of ice, or biting into a fruit fresh from the fridge can all make your teeth feel like a prick from the cold.
Until now, scientists had not identified where that feeling of extreme pain or sensitivity came from when biting into something that is very cold. But now an investigation carried out by the Massachusetts General Medicine Hospital has found the problem. This is how the journal Science has published it, and is that the investigation focuses on a main suspect: the TRPC5 protein.
This protein is found in cells called odontoblasts within teeth, which form the layer of dentin just below the enamel. These support the shape of the tooth, and now, as researchers have discovered, these cells also act as cold sensors.
This finding means that they can now get to work different tests to find solutions to this type of dental hypersensitivity. From gum to relieve pain to strips or products that are applied directly to the dentin.
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“This research brings a new function to this cell, which is exciting from a basic science point of view,” says pathologist Jochen Lennerz of Massachusetts General Hospital. “But now we also know how to interfere with this cold sensing function to inhibit tooth pain“.
The detection that the pain or sensation caused by the cold was related to the protein was due to mouse tests. What the scientists discovered is that those rodents lacking the gene encoding TRPC5 did not react to exposure of the teeth to cold in the same way.
This same examination was transferred to previously extracted human teeth and it could be seen that it acted in the same way. Also another good indicator is that This protein is already found in other parts of the human body and also acts as a receptor for cold.
Experts warn that despite having someone responsible for this sensation of pain, when you have it, do not let yourself go. Because teeth can become sensitive to cold also due to tooth decay, erosion of the gums due to aging and for many other reasons. Clove oil containing eugenol, an agent in charge of blocking this protein, can be used to prevent pain.
Human teeth are so difficult to analyze that this research has lasted more than 10 years, so the scientific community celebrates this finding as a true achievement.
“Our teeth are not designed to be cut into ultra-thin layers so that they can be studied under the microscope,” says Lennerz. “I am excited to see how other researchers will apply our findings.”
This article was published in Business Insider Spain by Irina Pérez.