What Is Hydroxyapatite And How Can It Benefit The Health Of Your Teeth

Hydroxyapatite is a restorative mineral that occurs naturally in teeth and bones. Hydroxyapatite works to repair, remineralise and strengthen the tooth’s outer layer, acting as a buffer to help prevent mineral loss, tooth erosion, tooth sensitivity and plaque.


Let’s explore this exciting mineral more.


Hydroxyapatite (HAp) is a naturally occurring mineral form of calcium apatite, with the formula Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2. It is well-known for its remarkable similarity to the mineral component of bones and hard tissues in mammals.


The discovery and application of hydroxyapatite, particularly in the realm of dental health, represents a significant advancement in biomaterial science, offering a range of benefits from tooth repair to the prevention of tooth decay.


Hydroxyapatite’s application in dentistry is diverse, encompassing toothpaste additives, fillings, coatings for dental implants, and as a bone graft material in periodontal treatments.




Some believe the origins of hydroxyapatite start in the 70s. It has been claimed that NASA astronauts were losing bone density while floating around all gravity-free, so they deployed hydroxyapatite into their toothpaste as a means to fortify teeth.


However NASA did not discover hydroxyapatite for dental care. Hydroxyapatite has been known to science long before its specific applications in dental care were explored.


The exploration and utilization of hydroxyapatite in the dental field have roots that date back to the mid-20th century when researchers began investigating biomaterials that could potentially bond to bone and teeth. Hydroxyapatite's biocompatibility, osteoconductivity, and similarity to natural bone minerals have made it a focal point of such research.



The association of NASA with advanced materials and technologies often leads to confusion or over-attribution of discoveries. While NASA has pioneered numerous technologies and materials advancements due to its extensive research and development work in various scientific fields, the discovery and application of hydroxyapatite in dental care primarily stem from the fields of dentistry and materials science.



One of the primary uses of hydroxyapatite in dental health is in toothpaste and oral care products. Hydroxyapatite is an effective remineralizing agent, capable of repairing minor scratches, abrasions, and early stages of demineralization in tooth enamel (Roveri et al., 2009).


When used in toothpaste, hydroxyapatite nanoparticles can bond to the surface of the teeth, filling in the micro-lesions and providing a protective layer that resists acid attack and reduces tooth sensitivity (Hannig & Hannig, 2010).


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A study by Amaechhis BT (2019) confirmed hydroxyapatite toothpaste is equivalent or non-inferior to the fluoride toothpaste with respect to remineralization of initial caries lesions and prevention of carious lesion development (tooth cavities.)



In conclusion, hydroxyapatite stands as a pivotal material in the field of dental health, offering innovative solutions for tooth repair, decay prevention, and bone regeneration. Its discovery and application have marked a significant advancement in dental materials science, reflecting the continuous quest for materials that mimic the natural properties of human tissues. As research progresses, hydroxyapatite's role in dentistry is expected to expand, further enhancing oral health and treatment outcomes.




Amaechi BT, AbdulAzees PA, Alshareif DO, Shehata MA, Lima PPCS, Abdollahi A, Kalkhorani PS, Evans V. Comparative efficacy of a hydroxyapatite and a fluoride toothpaste for prevention and remineralization of dental caries in children. BDJ Open. 2019 Dec 9;5:18.


Depprich, R., Zipprich, H., Ommerborn, M., Naujoks, C., Wiesmann, H. P., Kiattavorncharoen, S., ... & Handschel, J. (2008). Osseointegration of zirconia implants compared with titanium: an in vivo study. Head & Face Medicine, 4(1), 30.


Hannig, M., & Hannig, C. (2010). Nanomaterials in preventive dentistry. Nature Nanotechnology, 5(8), 565-569.Jarcho, M. (1981). Calcium phosphate ceramics as hard tissue prosthetics. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, (157), 259-278.


Mendonça, G., Mendonça, D. B. S., Aragão, F. J. L., & Cooper, L. F. (2008). Advancing dental implant surface technology—From micron- to nanotopography. Biomaterials, 29(28), 3822-3835.


Pepla E, Besharat LK, Palaia G, Tenore G, Migliau G. Nano-hydroxyapatite and its applications in preventive, restorative and regenerative dentistry: a review of literature. Ann Stomatol (Roma). 2014 Nov 20;5(3):108-14.


Roveri, N., Battistella, E., Bianchi, C. L., Foltran, I., Foresti, E., Iafisco, M., ... & Lelli, M. (2009). Surface enamel remineralization: Biomimetic apatite nanocrystals and fluoride ions different effects. Journal of Nanomaterials, 2009.