When you think of toothpaste, what comes to mind? Do you pick toothpaste targeted towards tooth sensitivity? Whitening? A clean ingredient list? How about flavors? Do you prefer spearmint, cool mint, or maybe something fruity? For many, one key ingredient they look for in their toothpaste is fluoride to help strengthen their teeth’s enamel and prevent cavities. However, fluoride isn’t the only way to protect your family’s dental health. We’d like to take a moment to tell our patients about the ever-growing prevalence of hydroxyapatite and the important role it can play in strengthening and whitening your teeth safely.
What is Hydroxyapatite?
Though the name may sound intimidating, hydroxyapatite is not. Hydroxyapatite (HAp) is a form of calcium apatite, also known as calcium phosphate, and is a naturally occurring mineral that makes up our bones and teeth. It makes up over 90% of the foundation of your tooth’s enamel and 60% of our bones.
Hydroxyapatite has become increasingly popular due to its biocompatibility. Even when lab-created, this important mineral can assist in strengthening, restoring, and even rebuilding your teeth and bones. Specifically, in dentistry, it has become a healthy alternative in toothpaste to fluoride thanks to its natural remineralizing and restorative properties.
How can hydroxyapatite help your teeth?
Your tooth’s enamel is the first line of defense against harmful acids and bacteria, and it works to fight against tooth decay. To keep your teeth protected from cavities and decay, the enamel must constantly be rebuilt or remineralized. Fluoride has long since been recommended for strengthening your enamel, but hydroxyapatite is naturally restorative and effective in reducing your risk for tooth decay, cavities, and enamel erosion. As it is naturally occurring, hydroxyapatite can safely replenish your enamel to rebuild and strengthen your smile.
Where is it currently used?
As mentioned above, hydroxyapatite is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to fluoride toothpaste. It is also helpful in improving biocompatibility among implants when used as a coating.
What are the benefits of using hydroxyapatite?
The benefits of using hydroxyapatite include:
- Bonding agent
- Lowers plaque levels
- Naturally whitens teeth
- Reduces tooth sensitivity
- Remineralizes teeth
- Soothes gums and fights against gingivitis
- No systemic side-effects or toxicity
Is it safe?
Hydroxyapatite is biocompatible and non-toxic as it is a naturally occurring mineral found within our bodies. There is no risk of overexposure as there can be when using fluoride-based products. It is ideal for children, pregnant women, and those at high risk of developing fluorosis. Though it is safe for ingestion, of course we do not recommend eating it!
We do recommend flossing before brushing with a toothpaste that contains hydroxyapatite so that the active ingredients can penetrate your teeth’s surface properly after the biofilm between the teeth has been removed. And DO NOT RINSE with water after! This is a fairly unknown thing, but with any toothpaste, you should not be rinsed after. If you do, you are just spitting all the goodness down the drain. It’ll be odd at first and feel pasty/gritty in your mouth, but trust me…for max effects do not rinse after you brush.
Ask your dentist today if a toothpaste with hydroxyapatite is right for you. Your dentist is the best person to recommend a toothpaste based on your current oral health needs. For more information on hydroxyapatite and its benefits or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office at (971) 978-0009.