Hydroxyapatite Vs. Fluoride: How Do They Compare?
At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we believe hydroxyapatite and fluoride are two substances that have been commonly used in dental care for many years. They both have the ability to prevent tooth decay and promote good oral health, but they differ in their mechanism of action and overall effectiveness. In this article, we will compare and contrast hydroxyapatite and fluoride to help you make an informed decision on which is better for your dental needs.
What is Hydroxyapatite?
Hydroxyapatite is a naturally occurring mineral that makes up the bulk of our teeth and bones. It is a form of calcium phosphate that has a crystalline structure similar to that of enamel. Hydroxyapatite is often used in dental care products as a substitute for enamel to help strengthen and protect teeth.
Hydroxyapatite works by forming a protective layer on the surface of the tooth, filling in any cracks or gaps that may be present. This layer helps to prevent bacteria from entering the tooth and causing decay. It also helps to remineralize the tooth, restoring any lost minerals and strengthening the enamel.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that is commonly found in drinking water, toothpaste, and mouthwash. It works by strengthening the enamel of the tooth and making it more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria. Fluoride also helps to remineralize the tooth, restoring lost minerals and reversing the early stages of tooth decay.
Fluoride is often added to toothpaste and mouthwash to provide additional protection against tooth decay. It is also added to many municipal water supplies to help promote good oral health throughout the community.
Hydroxyapatite Vs. Fluoride
Hydroxyapatite and fluoride both work to protect teeth from decay and promote good oral health, but they differ in their mechanism of action and overall effectiveness.
Hydroxyapatite is a natural substance that works by forming a protective layer on the surface of the tooth, filling in any cracks or gaps and strengthening the enamel. It is also effective in remineralizing the tooth and restoring any lost minerals. However, hydroxyapatite is not as widely studied as fluoride, and there is limited research on its long-term effectiveness.
Fluoride, on the other hand, has been extensively researched and is widely recognized as an effective tool in preventing tooth decay. It works by strengthening the enamel of the tooth and making it more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria. Fluoride is also effective in remineralizing the tooth and reversing the early stages of tooth decay. It is available in many forms, including toothpaste, mouthwash, and fluoride treatments from a dentist.
While both hydroxyapatite and fluoride have their benefits, fluoride is generally considered to be the more effective of the two in preventing tooth decay. However, it is important to note that excessive fluoride intake can lead to fluorosis, a condition that causes white spots and discolouration on the teeth. It is important to follow recommended guidelines for fluoride intake and consult with a dentist if you have any concerns about the amount of fluoride you are receiving.
The Benefits of Hydroxyapatite over Fluoride Toothpastes
Both hydroxyapatite and fluoride help to protect teeth structure but there are a few distinct advantages of using hydroxyapatite toothpastes over fluoride toothpastes. Let’s look at them below:
1. They are safer – Many parents are worried about their kids accidentally swallowing some toothpaste while brushing their teeth. The ingestion of fluoride toothpaste can lead to dental fluorosis which can change the appearance of the tooth enamel and lead to many other problems.
Hydroxyapatite does not have such an issue and is considered safer for kids, especially those who have a habit of swallowing toothpaste.
2. It is oral microbiome friendly – Both fluoride and hydroxyapatite have antibacterial properties. However, fluoride kills both good and bad bacteria, which can be a problem in some cases. Hydroxyapatite, on the other hand, does not kill bacteria. Instead, it prevents harmful bacteria from attaching themselves to the enamel of the teeth.
3. It also helps to whiten teeth – Over time, your teeth can accumulate teeth stains, especially if you eat stain-causing foods and drinks. Normally, professional teeth whitening treatments are the best option to whiten yellow teeth. However, if that is not possible, people tend to use teeth-whitening toothpaste to remove teeth stains.
These include whitening agents and abrasive substances which can cause harm to your teeth if not used properly. Hydroxyapatite toothpaste can lighten the shade of your teeth without the risk of harm since they don’t include abrasive substances.
4. It is non-toxic – Hydroxyapatite toothpaste is considered a biomimetic. Thus, you would experience no side effects even if you accidentally swallowed hydroxyapatite toothpaste. On the other hand, overexposure to fluoride can lead to skeletal and dental fluorosis.
5. It helps to fortify enamel – Fluoride helps to strengthen the tooth enamel by creating a fluorapatite coating. In fact, fluoride helps to reverse the signs of tooth decay by remineralizing the teeth and protecting them under acidic conditions.
Hydroxyapatite is just as effective as fluoride since it helps to increase the microhardness of the enamel. Additionally, it helps to reduce tooth sensitivity.
Should you choose Hydroxyapatite or Fluoride?
Ultimately, the choice between hydroxyapatite and fluoride will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a natural alternative to fluoride, or if you have concerns about excessive fluoride intake, hydroxyapatite may be a good option for you. However, if you are looking for a widely recognized and effective tool for preventing tooth decay, fluoride may be the better choice.
It is important to consult with a dentist or oral health professional to determine which option is best for you. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your individual needs and help you create a dental care plan that will promote good oral health and prevent tooth decay. At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we suggest you consult with your dentist to understand whether you should continue using fluoride toothpaste or switch to hydroxyapatite toothpaste. Generally, hydroxyapatite toothpaste is more suitable for people with tooth sensitivity, pregnant women, children, and those who live in a region with fluoridated water supply.