Jakarta, CNN Indonesia –
Cause tooth pain because drink ice believed to be due to cavities or damaged teeth. However, recently researchers have identified the cause of toothache from drinking ice or cold.
In the journal Science Advances researchers have discovered a new function for odontoblasts, the cells that make up dentin, the shell underneath tooth enamel that encloses the soft tooth pulp containing nerves and blood vessels.
“We found that odontoblasts, which support tooth shape, are also responsible for feeling cold,” said pathologist Jochen Lennerz, co-senior author of the paper and medical director of the Center for Integrated Diagnostics at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“This research contributes to a new function in these cells, which is interesting from a basic science point of view. But we now also know how it interferes with cold sensing function to inhibit toothache.”
As quoted New York Times, more than a decade ago, Dr. Katharina Zimmerman, now a professor at Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany, discovered that cells that produce a protein called TRPC5, are sensitive to cold.
When things cool down, TRPC5 opens to form a channel, allowing ions to flow across the cell membrane.
Ion channels such as TRPC5 are scattered throughout our bodies, says Dr. Zimmerman, and they are behind some very familiar sensations. And one of the most sensitive tissues in the human body is the tooth in terms of the cold sensation.
Within their protective enamel shells, teeth are made of a hard substance called dentin which is woven together with tiny tunnels. The dentin heart is the soft pulp of the tooth, where nerve cells and cells called odontoblasts, which produce dentin, are linked.
The prevailing theory of how teeth feel cold is that changes in temperature put pressure on the fluid in the dentinal tunnels, somehow triggering a response in those hidden nerves.
Zimmerman and colleagues then investigated whether mice engineered not to have the TRPC5 channel still had toothaches like normal mice.
They were intrigued to discover that these mice, when their teeth were broken, did not behave as if something was wrong. In fact, they behaved almost the same as they had been given anti-inflammatory painkillers, said Dr. Zimmerman.
“We now have definitive evidence that the TRCP5 temperature sensor transmits cold via odontoblasts and triggers nerves to create pain and hypersensitivity to cold,” adds Lennerz.
“This cold sensitivity may be the body’s way of protecting a damaged tooth from additional injury.”