A mineral called hydroxyapatite, naturally found in teeth and bones, may have the same cavity-fighting benefits as fluoride, offering a promising alternative ingredient for toothpaste. While fluoride is known for its ability to protect teeth, excessive consumption can be harmful, particularly for children who tend to swallow toothpaste. To address this concern, younger children are usually advised to use only a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a rice grain, during brushing. However, a recent study conducted by scientists from Poznan University of Medical Sciences and the Medical University of Bialystok in Poland indicates that hydroxyapatite could be a viable substitute for fluoride.
Hydroxyapatite is already acknowledged for its effectiveness in treating gum disease and tooth hypersensitivity, making it an easily accessible addition to our daily dental care routines. “Hydroxyapatite is a safe and effective alternative to fluoride in caries prevention for daily use,” explains dental scientist Elzbieta Paszynska from Poznan University of Medical Sciences.
In a double-blind randomized trial, 171 participants aged 18 to 45 were assigned either hydroxyapatite toothpaste or fluoride toothpaste without knowing which product they were using. The participants had similar dental health conditions, all used electric toothbrushes, followed the same brushing routine, and were instructed not to alter their regular diets. After 18 months of brushing and receiving regular check-ups from dentists, there was no significant difference in new cavities between the hydroxyapatite group and the fluoride group. Approximately 90 percent of participants in each group did not develop any new cavities.
The effectiveness of hydroxyapatite can be attributed to its dual action: it prevents the loss of tooth minerals (demineralization), which leads to cavities, and enhances the natural tooth repair process (remineralization). Moreover, the use of hydroxyapatite falls under the category of “minimally invasive” dentistry, eliminating the need for dental visits and procedures. By incorporating hydroxyapatite into toothpaste, individuals can effectively protect tooth tissue by using it twice a day during regular brushing routines.
Regulators have already approved hydroxyapatite as a safe substance, and it can be synthetically produced for inclusion in toothpaste. Although there are a few remaining steps before hydroxyapatite can replace fluoride, it is certainly making a strong case for itself. “With our new clinical trial, it has been shown that hydroxyapatite prevents dental caries in adults. This is important from a public health perspective,” emphasizes Paszynska.
Hydroxyapatite shows great potential as an alternative to fluoride for cavity prevention. Its ability to protect teeth and promote remineralization makes it a promising ingredient for toothpaste. With its safety approval and the ease of synthetic production, hydroxyapatite could soon become a widely accepted option in dental care. This breakthrough offers hope for individuals concerned about excessive fluoride consumption and provides a convenient solution for maintaining optimal dental health.