Nutrition Notes

Hydroxyapatite for Dental Enamel and Tooth Integrity

Dental enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth, and is composed mainly of a mineral called hydroxyapatite (HAP). Strain on the existing mineral structure of HAP can lead to erosion and demineralization. Dental sensitivities can arise from certain conditions related to demineralization or excessive brushing. As we age, dental enamel can decrease in thickness, causing the underlying layer, yellow in color, to appear more prominent. Emerging research suggests that HAP may help support dental integrity and remineralization, and may be suitable for those with dental sensitivity. 

A recently published systematic review involving 13 studies explored HAP’s potential to support a lighter shade of enamel. According to the authors, evidence from both laboratory and clinical studies suggests that HAP-containing oral care products may help promote a lighter tone and polish, and may also help support the repair of surface enamel defects

A randomized controlled clinical trial involving 147 patients reported preliminary data suggesting HAP’s potential to support dental remineralization. Of note, this study had a secondary outcome related to HAP’s potential influence on gingival inflammation. While there currently exists little data regarding HAP’s influence on inflammatory parameters, the results of this secondary outcome may suggest that further studies may be warranted.  

HAP may also be suitable for individuals with dentin sensitivity. Dentin is a tooth layer underneath the enamel. Dentin sensitivity often occurs due to gingival recession and loss of cementum. Dentin hypersensitivity is common among adults, affecting approximately one-third of participants in a systematic review and meta-analysis. Two separate systematic reviews indicated that certain forms of HAP helped promote the body’s response to dentin hypersensitivity. However, clinical studies involving HAP may be small in size, involve subjective parameters, and administer different forms and amounts of HAP; therefore, more research is needed before conclusions can be made. Despite this, evidence is promising that more studies involving HAP’s potential to help promote certain aspects of dentin sensitivity may be warranted.

Geranylgeraniol (GG) is another agent that may support dental integrity. It is a precursor to the endogenous synthesis of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and has been shown to help boost intracellular levels of CoQ10. GG has been shown to help support bone health and downregulate certain inflammatory markers including interleukin (IL)-6 and nuclear-kB (NF-kB). Research indicates it may also help promote a normal pain response and may support oral sensitivity.

Evidence suggests that HAP and GG may help support dental integrity. They may also be suitable for those with dental sensitivity. Dietary sources of GG include oils derived from certain seeds and plants including sunflower and flaxseed oils.

By Dr. Cory Ambrose, ND, MAT