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In brief: Enamel-building dental lozenges; the lowdown on toothpaste tablets

July 18, 2023
Learn about dental lozenges being developed to help treat hypersensitivity; why fluoride isn't in many toothpaste tablets; and more.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

Trials to start for enamel-building lozenges

Researchers at the University at Washington School of Dentistry are engineering a peptide—delivered in the form of a lozenge the size of a cough drop—that rebuilds tooth enamel and ultimately reduces hypersensitivity. "Our technology forms the same minerals found in the tooth, including enamel, cementum, and dentin alike, which had dissolved previously through demineralization and caused the sensitivity," said lead author Deniz T. Yücesoy. "The newly formed mineral microlayers close the communication channels with the tooth nerves, and then hypersensitivity shouldn't be an issue for you." According to UW’s press release on the development, two lozenges a day can rebuild enamel, while one a day can maintain a healthy layer. The lozenges are expected to be safe for use by adults and children alike; the research team is preparing to start clinical trials, and also plans to develop products for use in dental offices.

A deep look at toothpaste tablets

Chemical & Engineering News explored toothpaste tablets, dry, pressed-powder pills that mix with saliva to make a foamy paste. Formulations vary, but as with regular toothpastes, the tablets usually contain abrasives, surfactants, binders, and sweeteners and flavorings. However, one ingredient notably absent from many toothpaste tablets is fluoride, “partly a branding choice made to please customers suspicious of fluoride,” and also because the addition of fluoride “gives a dentifrice a formal anticavity claim” that subjects it to regulation by the FDA. Although adding fluoride could widen the products’ customer pool, the less stringent regulations of not containing it may appeal to newer brands. For its part, the ADA has not yet approved any toothpaste tablet, citing a lack of data on efficacy.

Significant increase in opioid toxicity deaths in 2021

Following signs that opioid deaths were on the decline from 2017-2019, in 2021, unintentional opioid toxicity was attributed to one in 22 deaths among all adults and one in 10 among people from 15 to 19 years old, a recent study found. Researchers attribute the rise at least in part to the pandemic, which “carried with it major changes in societal priorities and access to health services ... along with the increasing dangers of the unregulated drug supply.” While the burden of deaths from opioids was most pronounced among men aged 30 to 39 years old, with 15,685 deaths from opioid toxicity in 2021, “the increase in the proportion of opioid toxicity-attributable deaths was highest among those aged 15 to 19 years, more than doubling from 2019 to 2021.”

About the Author

Elizabeth S. Leaver | Digital content manager

Elizabeth S. Leaver is the digital content manager for Endeavor Business Media's dental group. She has a degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston and many years of experience working in niche industries specializing in creating content, editing, content marketing, and publishing digital and magazine content. She lives in the Boston area; you can reach her at [email protected].