When you think of toothpaste, what comes to mind? Does your child prefer spearmint, berry, or maybe bubble gum? For many, one key ingredient they look for when selecting their toothpaste is fluoride to help strengthen teeth 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, protecting, and whitening teeth safely.
What is Hydroxyapatite?
Though the name may sound intimidating, hydroxyapatite is not. Hydroxyapatite (HA) is a form of calcium apatite, also known as calcium phosphate, and is a naturally occurring mineral that makes up the bones and teeth. It makes up over 90% of the foundation of your tooth’s enamel and 60% of your bones.
This important mineral can assist in strengthening, restoring, and even rebuilding teeth and bones. Specifically, in dentistry, it has become a healthy alternative in toothpaste to fluoride thanks to its natural remineralizing and restorative properties. This is especially important for patients who prefer to minimize their child’s exposure to fluoride.
Dental cavities and tooth decay have become an increasingly common occurrence in pediatric dentistry. 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 toothpaste has long since been the golden standard in protecting teeth and works by making the teeth more resistant to cavities and tooth decay. However, hydroxyapatite toothpaste is naturally restorative and effective in reducing the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and enamel erosion. This is because hydroxyapatite provides the teeth with the exact same mineral they lose daily and thus actively replenishes the enamel to rebuild and strengthen the smile.
These kinds of toothpaste are used in the same way as fluoride-containing toothpaste. Brush at least twice daily making sure to brush for at least two minutes. Don’t forget to floss and rinse your mouth, too! Not only are these kinds of toothpaste effective in cleaning your teeth, but they also help to reduce tooth sensitivity and whiten and brighten your smile.
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, we do not recommend eating it.
Ask your pediatric dentist today if hydroxyapatite is right for your family. Your dentist is the best person to recommend a toothpaste based on your child’s current oral health needs. For more information on hydroxyapatite and its benefits or to schedule an appointment, contact Children’s Dentistry of San Diego today.