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Dental biotechnology

  1. Mar 22, 2006 #1
    Some background information first:

    *Hydroxyapatite (i.e., Ca5[(PO4)3OH]) comprises 97-98% of human tooth enamel. It will demineralize at pH 5.5.

    *Fluoride ions are usually added to drinking water and are found in fluoride toothpastes (commonly via NaF).
    According to Wikipedia,
    According to the http://www.uvm.edu/~swgordon/131-01/131web/caseymorley/discussion.html [Broken],
    Sounds wonderful :cool:
    Now here is my question:

    -What if the formation of fluorapatite (for our teeth) did not require drinking water, and fluoride toothpaste? What if...say, we could synthesize fluorapatite ourselves (biologically speaking)?
    -Is there a genetic basis for the synthesis of hydroxyapatite?→Can we alter this...to produce fluorapatite instead :smile:?

    (*I am not certain, however, as to where the body might 'obtain' these fluoride anions...early on...(But I like biotechnology))
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2006 #2


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    We'd still need to get fluoride from somewhere.

    But, related to your question, I just came across this article today saying that you can also get too much fluoride, and it can damage teeth and bones!

  4. Mar 23, 2006 #3


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    I believe that the hydroxyapatite found in enamel is also the same that is found in bone. It may not possible to modify one without the other thus there may be some broader-reaching toxicities associated with this application of fluoride, especially when you are talking about incorporating it into developing systems. Your teeth may be better off, but the damage that was incurred during bone development way outweighs it. Evolution may have avoided/eliminated direct exposure to fluoride during these sensitive time periods and instead opted for later incorporation via exposure of the external compartment. Of course, this is purely hypothetical.
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