New York Dental Astoria - Blog

Tips, tricks and suggestions about oral health.

Hydroxyapatite: A Powerful New Weapon In The Fight Against Tooth Decay


 The next time that you visit your dentist, ( and we DO hope that its at least twice a year), and the topic is cavities and tooth decay, you just might hear something quite useful about a powerful new weapon that more and more professionals in the field are recommending that their patients look into: toothpastes that contain hydroxyapatite.

Many dental professionals feel that hydroxyapatite is an extra tool in their patients home oral care arsenal when it comes to the ongoing fight to prevent cavities and make the enamel on your teeth look its very best. After all, your teeth's enamel is the first thing that people see when you smile. Most importantly, though, enamel protects the underlying dentin and pulp of the tooth. We'll bet you didn't know that enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. So, it is NOT to be taken lightly.

Now, you may be thinking;I already use a toothpaste that contains FLUORIDE, so what's the big deal about this new-fangled thing called hydroxyapatite ? Well, it doesn't hurt to use BOTH fluoride and hydroxyapatite as part of your daily brushing routine. And, get this; many dentists feel that hydroxyapatite has advantages that fluoride cannot offer. And, it is safer for children and women who are pregnant to use. For the health conscious among you (and you must be if you're reading the NY DENTAL blog), you'll love the fact that besides protecting and remineralizing one's teeth, hydroxyapatite is useful in helping to whiten them and it is utilized in various dental and medical procedures such as bone grafts and dental implants. There is some serious stuff going on here.

Hydroxyapatite is a natural compound. Well over ninety percent of your tooth's enamel is made up of hydroxyapatite. A little earlier in this article we stated that this compound, when integrated into toothpaste, assists in the remineralization of enamel. But, you may ask; how did we get here? And, what exactly is demineralization? This rather nasty process occurs when acid from your saliva and certain foods and beverages that you ingest, starts to break down the outer layer (enamel) of your teeth. When this happens, you are infinitely more susceptible to getting cavities and severe tooth decay. Even if you're careful about your diet, you are NOT out of the woods. The more acid that naturally occurs in one's saliva, the more likely that demineralization will read its ugly head. Hydroxyapatite to the rescue ! It prevents the buildup of plaque which, if left unchecked, leads to the development of tartar.

 Because hydroxyapatite's particles are much smaller than fluoride's molecules, they are able to penetrate deeper into the tooth, remineralizing from within. Here's how it works . Toothpastes with hydroxyapatite  ( micro or nano) in small particle size form a protective layer on your enamel, by depositing calcium and phosphate ions onto your tooth's surface. This compound bonds to the enamel and fills up dentinal TUBULES that are located in, where else,but the dentin, which is the layer just below the enamel. In layman's terms, tubules can be looked at as microscopic pathways or channels that go inside the tooth, leading to the nerves. When fewer tubules are exposed (not filled) the less sensitivity, pain and discomfort your teeth will feel when exposed to extremes of hot or cold such as ice cream, steaming coffee etc.

Keep in mind, however, that remineralization WILL strengthen the existing enamel on your teeth. But , enamel that is already missing or destroyed cannot regrow since it's not living tissue.

Toothpastes that feature hydroxyapatite give you ALL the benefits of fluoride without potential side effects like DENTAL FLUOROSIS. This is a condition that results in white or brown speckles on one's teeth caused by overexposure to fluoride toothpaste or fluoride in your tap water, as a child. Sure, it's unsightly, but, don't worry, fluorosis is NOT harmful to your oral health.

Some research studies have shown that, as we previously mentioned, Hydroxyapatite does play a role in making teeth a little brighter since the remineralization process removes a limited amount of surface stains. But, please be aware, the jury is still out on this one. Here's something to think about in the fluoride versus hydroxyapatite debate.  Fluoride can kill all bacteria in your mouth,including, surprisingly,certain bacterias that are BENEFICIAL to your oral health. Since hydroxyapatite is NOT antibacterial, it selectively eliminates only the harmful bacteria, while protecting teeth and gums.

As always, please talk things over with your dentist. Treatments that are right for even the majority of patients may NOT be right for you. We're all individuals with different medical histories so a proper consultation with a medical professional is always the right thing to do when you're thinking of introducing a new dental ingredient into your oral care routine. Once you have gotten the go-ahead from your dentist, then get ready to replenish, rebuild and strengthen your enamel and your smile with hydroxyapatite.

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Better-For-You Thirst-Quenching Summertime Sips
Ouch! I just chipped my tooth. What can I do about...
© New York Dental. All rights reserved.