Nutrition Colombia , Bogotá D.C., Thursday, October 15 of 2015, 09:49

Mechanisms to remineralize teeth naturally

Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) researchers have identified mechanisms in which chemical substances could be added into teeth enamel for remineralization processes

UN/DICYT The results obtained by UNal Faculty of Sciences and School of Dentistry experts will help solve incipient cavity and erosion issues due to chemical effects and dental sensitivity problems.


Carolina Torres Rodríguez, UNal School of Dentistry Professor and member of the Dentistry Materials Application Group (GRAMO, for its Spanish acronym says that this project focused on determining the remineralization processes through diffusion of chemical elements in teeth.


“Teeth demineralize due to cavities, use of bleaching agents and erosion effects produced by consuming carbonated beverages such as sodas,” said Professor and thesis Co-Director of Gelen Patricia Bernett Zurita’s thesis project entitled, “In vitro study of chemical species diffusion in human dental enamel.”


To treat these types of lesions, dentists insert tooth fillings and to remineralize teeth they also carry out additional surface treatments. The main issue is to find in-depth entry into teeth.


In this sense one of the purposes of the research project is to enable teeth to gain these minerals once again with elements teeth can recognize.


Therefore they discovered that the structure of the enamel is very complex with different sized pores which allow access to some materials but not to others. Taking this into account they carried out tests with ions and other chemical elements such as a potassium, cadmium, chlorine, barium, strontium and iodine, all similar to calcium and phosphates which are part of the enamel to determine how they entered the teeth.


UNal Chemistry Professor and thesis director Édgar Delgado Mejía says they used indicator ions because they allow detecting which of these elements gained entry into teeth and which not.


“Knowing the composition of teeth we carried out a careful selection of elements for preparing substances where molars where immersed. Contrary of what was previously thought that elements entered teeth by the pores and remained there, what we discovered was a very complex channel mechanism,” said Delgado.


They determined that pores are not straight channels; on the contrary they are curved and irregular which does not enable all elements inside the mouth to penetrate them profoundly.


This project was carried out with 65 human extracted third molars or wisdom teeth which underwent a remineralization process with lactic acid to compare them with healthy enamel molars. Later they prepared substances with selected chemical elements to see how ions entered teeth.


“The molars were submerged for six hours, sufficient time for the substances to enter through the pores,” said Torres. Afterwards through methods such as electronic microscopy researchers determined that ions entered teeth up to 150 microns deep.


Delgado added that the chosen elements are similar in atomic weight and size to ions such as calcium, phosphorous, chlorine, magnesium and zinc, all necessary elements for remineralization.


The research project is in its first stage. In the future the processes with these biocompatible elements will be carried out in vivo with animals.


This will enable making products with these elements in form of cream, gel, mouth wash and other types of presentations that will allow remineralizing teeth naturally.