Two years later, Hench achieved exactly that. He created a material that in effect could form a ‘living bond’ with bone, and bioactive glass was born. Trademarked as Bioglass, it has been successfully used in medicine ever since to mend bones and accelerate bone growth.
Just add water
The major breakthrough as far as oral health is concerned came in 1996 when two dentists - Drs Len Litkowski and Gary Hack - whose main area of study was sensitive teeth, and researcher David Greenspan adapted the technology for oral care. Bioglass is a compound formed of calcium, sodium, silica and phosphorus. On their own, these elements are of little use in oral health. However, in the presence of saliva and water, a calcium phosphate layer forms and crystallises to form hydroxylapatite, which is similar both chemically and structurally to the minerals in teeth.
Hack, Litkowski and Greenspan found that particles of this hydroxylapatite could fill the tiny holes in teeth that allowed sensations like sweet, hot or cold to reach nerves and cause pain. So from research into the bone regenerative properties of Bioglass, Litkowski and Greenspan, on teaming up with Hack, had struck upon a treatment for sensitive teeth, which they called NovaMin.
In 2011, after our Consumer Healthcare business acquired Hack, Litowski and Greenspan’s NovaMin company, we announced the launch of Sensodyne Repair and Protect, the first everyday fluoride based toothpaste containing NovaMin technology that can repair sensitive teeth. Used twice daily, it can form a protective layer and stop tooth sensitivity in just two weeks.