Hydroxyapatite: a new mineral to protect teeth from tooth decay

Protecting teeth from decay is one of the most important tasks in the field of dentistry. Currently, fluoride is the main ingredient in toothpastes to provide this protection. However, scientists from the Poznan University of Medical Sciences and the Medical University of Bialystok in Poland offer an alternative – the use of the calcium phosphate mineral known as hydroxyapatite. This mineral is naturally present in human teeth and bones and can be effective in preventing tooth decay.

Fluoride, while effective, can be harmful if consumed in excess. This is especially true for children, who may swallow more toothpaste. Therefore, it is recommended that children use a small amount of paste the size of a grain of rice when brushing their teeth. Hydroxyapatite, on the other hand, offers a safe and effective alternative to fluoride in caries prevention for daily use.

Researchers conducted a double-blind, randomized study involving 171 people between the ages of 18 and 45. The participants were given toothpastes containing either hydroxyapatite or fluoride, and none of them knew which one they were given. All participants used electric toothbrushes and the same brushing routine without changing their usual diet.

After 18 months of toothpaste use and regular checkups with dentists, there was no significant difference in the number of new cavities between the group using hydroxyapatite and the group using fluoride. Nearly 90 percent of participants in each group did not develop any new cavities.

Hydroxyapatite has a dual effect on teeth: it limits the loss of minerals by the teeth, which leads to tooth decay, and it enhances the natural tooth repair process. At the same time, its use is categorized as “minimally invasive” dentistry, requiring no trips to the dentist or procedures. By simply adding hydroxyapatite to your toothpaste, you can use it twice a day in your regular brushing routine to preserve tooth tissue.

Hydroxyapatite has been approved by regulatory agencies as safe and can be produced synthetically to be added to toothpastes. While there are still a few steps to be completed before hydroxyapatite completely replaces fluoride, this is a strong argument in favor of the new mineral.

Earlier clinical trials have also shown the caries-preventive effect of hydroxyapatite in at-risk groups, such as children and patients undergoing orthodontic treatment. Therefore, hydroxyapatite has important public health implications.

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