Why does a cold hurt your teeth?  - Practice healing

Why does a cold hurt your teeth? – Practice healing

Toothache from a cold: Why clove oil can help

Many people have teeth that are sensitive to cold, which can lead to teeth stabbing when in contact with cold foods and drinks. Why teeth react to cold with pain remains unclear. A recent study has now revealed the primary effect.

An international research team that includes researchers from Friedrich-Alexander-Nuremberg (FAU), Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and several other famous research institutions have decoded the signal pathway through which cold leads to toothache. Researchers have also come to the conclusion that clove oil may be suitable for treating cold allergies. The results of the study were published in the specialized journal.Science Advances“.

Causes of tooth sensitivity to cold

The researchers explained that a toothache when exposed to cold can occur for many reasons, for example a hole in the tooth, but also age-related erosion of the gums. In addition, cancer patients treated with platinum chemotherapy are sometimes very sensitive to cold all over their bodies and “a draft in the face is recorded as severe pain in the teeth,” adds Dr. Jochen Liners of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Studies in mice

In studies in mice, researchers have tried to determine the cause of toothache when the weather was cold. The molars of the mice were drilled under anesthesia to simulate pain. Animals with dental injuries indicated toothache through their behavior. “For example, they drink up to 300% more sugar-sweetened water than their littermates without tooth damage,” the researchers report.

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TRCP5 protein in focus

In their further investigations, the research group focused on the function of TRCP5 and its interaction with odontoblasts, the special cells at the border between the dentin (dentin) and the pulp (pulp of the tooth). The protein is encoded by the TRCP5 gene and is suspected to cause cold pain. Using transgenic mice that do not contain the TRCP5 gene, the researchers were able to demonstrate that the mice showed no change in their drinking behavior despite a tooth injury, and that they behave like mice without tooth injuries.

Visualization of the cold with odontoblasts

According to the researchers, the determining factor for an allergy to cold is the protein’s effect on odontoblasts. “We discovered that odontoblasts (…) are also responsible for feeling cold,” confirms Dr. Liners. Specifically, TRCP5 opens channels in the odontoblast membrane in response to cold, allowing other molecules such as calcium to penetrate and interact with the cell.

TRCP5 is said to be abundant in pulpitis, for example, and then cause increased signals through the nerves that exit from the root of the tooth and reach the brain, where the toothache is observed. The researchers explained that “if the gums recede as a result of aging, the teeth may become hypersensitive, because the tooth blasts feel cold in a newly exposed area of ​​the tooth.”

The final proof is presented

The current study “now provides definitive evidence that the TRCP5 temperature sensor transmits cold through the odontoblasts and activates signal transmission to the nerves, causing pain and hypersensitivity to cold,” says Liniers. This cold sensitivity can be a way for the body to protect a damaged tooth from further injury.

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“Most cells and tissues slow down the metabolism in the presence of cold, which is why donor organs are put on ice, but TRPC5 makes cells more active in the cold, and the ability of dental cells to sense cold via TRPC5 is what makes this discovery so exciting,” Lennertz emphasizes. . The study shows a new function of odontoblasts and “we now also know how to intervene in this cold-sensitive function to prevent tooth pain,” the expert adds.

Clove oil blocks TRCP5

The research team has set a drug target to reduce tooth sensitivity to cold, and the active ingredient of eugenol in clove oil also works to block TRCP5. Clove oil has been used as a treatment for dental pain for centuries, and according to researchers, other uses can also be envisioned, such as systemic therapy with eugenol for severe sensitivity to cold after chemotherapy. (fp)

Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been examined by medical professionals.


  • Laura Bernal, Pamela Sutilo Hitzfeld, Kristen Koenig, Victor Seneca, Amanda Wyatt, Zoltan Winter, Alexander Heine, Philip Tosca, Susan Reinhardt, Aaron Tragel, Ricardo Kosoda, Philip Whartenberg, Allen Sklaroff, John de Pfeiffer, Fabian Electors, Andreas Dahl, Mark Frichel, Victor Flachova, Sebastian Brocci, Carolina Rosa, Ulrich Baum, David E. Clapham 6, Jochen K. Liners, Kathryn Zimmerman: Odontoblast TRPC5 channels indicate cold toothache; In: Science Advances (Posted 24 March 2021), sciencemag.org
  • Massachusetts General Hospital: Researchers discover why cold causes dental pain and hypersensitivity – and how to stop them (veröffentlicht 26.03. eurekalert.org
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important note:
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-medication. He cannot replace a visit to the doctor.

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