Benefits of Hydroxyapatite for Teeth and More

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » Benefits of Hydroxyapatite for Teeth and More

If you’ve been a Wellness Mama reader for a while, you probably know that I’m fascinated by dental health. The conventional advice is to use fluoride toothpaste to harden teeth (and prevent cavities) and to use a whitening toothpaste to deal with yellowing teeth. But I was not convinced that this was the only (or best) way to go with protecting my family’s dental health.

Then I discovered the benefits of hydroxyapatite, which is a material that can white and strengthen teeth. Fast forward a few years, and I decided to use hydroxyapatite as an ingredient in my own line of natural toothpaste. Since the name sounds so unusual, I thought it was worth explaining the benefits of this elaborate-sounding mineral and why I chose to include it.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Hydroxyapatite?

Though the name is daunting to pronounce, it’s actually a very simple material. Hydroxyapatite (HAp) is a calcium phosphate that makes up human teeth and bones. Pure hydroxyapatite is white, which is why healthy teeth appear white.

Lab-created hydroxyapatite (nano-hydroxyapatite — n-HAp) has a hexagonal structure and ratio of calcium to phosphate that is identical to human bone and teeth. So, unlike some materials that are made in a lab, n-HAp is as good as natural hydroxyapatite.

Hydroxyapatite is also the most stable form of calcium phosphate, which means that it is unlikely to succumb to decomposition processes like oxidation. This is one reason that it has been researched and used for a variety of medical uses.

Benefits of Hydroxyapatite

Hydroxyapatite is an interesting material. According to a 2019 study, it has many benefits which make it a helpful material for medical and dental uses.

  • Biocompatible & Bioactive – As mentioned earlier, hydroxyapatite is biologically identical to the material that human bones and teeth are made from. Because of this hydroxyapatite is not harmful to human tissue. It also has a biological effect, meaning it will help bones and teeth grow.
  • Osteoconductive – Hydroxyapatite also is osteoconductive, meaning bone can grow onto the surface of hydroxyapatite, aiding in repairing hard tissue in the body.
  • Non-Toxic – Hydroxyapatite is also non-toxic and does not cause inflammation. On the other hand, fluoride can be harmful.
  • Anti-microbial – HAp is also antimicrobial, which can help fight infection and bacteria in the mouth, according to a 2018 study.

Researchers have known for a long time that HAp had these benefits. But with the advancement in nanotechnology, it has become easier to make n-HAp in the lab, making it more available for use.

Uses of Hydroxyapatite

Because of HAp’s many chemical benefits, it has been researched and used in both expected and unexpected uses.

Bone and Tooth Surgery

Because HAp is what teeth and bones are made from, it makes sense that it could help repair them. But what’s really interesting is that it can be used to help the body accept implants. It does this by coating the implant. This coating makes the body believe the implant is already part of the body.

Research published in 2006 backs up these uses. It also shows that HAp can help bone regrow, so it can help repair broken bones.

A ten-year review published in 1999 discovered that HAp is completely safe and continues to be a very effective way to help implants survive in the body.

Dental Health

Demineralization of the teeth can occur for several reasons including acidic foods and drinks, lack of adequate saliva, and excess plaque. Hydroxyapatite makes up about 97 percent of tooth enamel and 70 percent of dentin (the layer under the enamel), so replenishing this material is a great way to help support healthy teeth. When used in toothpaste, nano-hydroxyapatite fils in gaps in the tooth, strengthening it.

A 2014 review found that n-HAp toothpaste has a “remarkable remineralizing effect” on teeth — significantly better than fluoride.

The review notes that n-HAp also adheres to plaque and bacteria, making them less problematic for teeth and that n-HAp helps ease sensitivity.

According to a 2009 study, HAp can even help whiten teeth. Researchers conclude that it’s a great alternative to bleaching agents. Considering yellow teeth are a result of demineralizing, it makes sense that remineralizing could help improve the white appearance of teeth.

My whitening toothpaste contains hydroxyapatite for whitening and remineralizing teeth as well as aloe and green tea to fight bacteria and bad breath. We worked long and with a team of researchers and product scientists to develop a formula even better than my homemade toothpaste recipes.

Environmental Uses

The main uses of hydroxyapatite have been medical and dental, but there is some research into other uses for this material.

Air filters made with a combination of hydroxyapatite and 2 other chemicals can help absorb and decomposing carbon monoxide (CO) in the air.

Air quality (especially indoors) is a major concern for health-conscious families (including mine!), so this research is welcome.

Additionally, it can help to remove fluoride in the environment by adsorbing it. Adsorbing is different than absorbing. Adsorbing means that the fluoride attaches to the hydroxyapatite as a thin film around the outside. This helps remove the fluoride from the environment. Considering fluoride may have surprisingly negative effects (like causing acne!), I’m always looking for new ways to cut down on exposure.

Is Hydroxyapatite Safe?

Both the 2019 study and the 10-year review mentioned earlier found that there is no concern about safety with HAp when used in the ways explained above. However, when used as a supplement it may cause side effects such as headache, dry mouth, frequent urination, fatigue, flushing or sweating, and stomach discomfort.

Good thing we all know not to swallow our toothpaste!

My family uses hydroxyapatite in our toothpaste to help remineralize and whiten our teeth naturally and we have had a great experience with it.

Hydroxyapatite: Bottom Line

The technical name for this material makes it a bit scary but it’s far from harmful!

  • HAp is a safe and effective ingredient in natural toothpaste (what I use it for) but also can be used for medical and environmental uses.
  • Even when made in a lab, it is safe, effective, and bioactive.
  • It can actually directly help bone and teeth remineralize and regrow in some instances.

If you are looking for an alternative to fluoride toothpaste that actually works, I highly recommend using a hydroxyapatite toothpaste like the one from Wellnesse.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

Sources
  1. Dan, P., Sundararajan, V., Ganeshkumar, H., Gnanabarathi, B., Subramanian, A. K., Venkatasubu, G. D., … Mohideen, S. S. (2019). Evaluation of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles – induced in vivo toxicity in Drosophila melanogaster. Applied Surface Science, 484, 568–577. doi: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2019.04.120
  2. Seyedmajidi, S., Rajabnia, R., & Seyedmajidi, M. (2018). Evaluation of antibacterial properties of hydroxyapatite/bioactive glass and fluorapatite/bioactive glass nanocomposite foams as a cellular scaffold of bone tissue. Journal of Laboratory Physicians, 10(03), 265–270. doi: 10.4103/jlp.jlp_167_17
  3. Zhang, Y., Xu, H. H. K., Takagi, S., & Chow, L. C. (2006). In-situ hardening hydroxyapatite-based scaffold for bone repair. Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, 17(5), 437–445. doi: 10.1007/s10856-006-8471-z
  4. Petit, R. (1999). The use of hydroxyapatite in orthopaedic surgery: A ten-year review. European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology, 9(2), 71–74. doi: 10.1007/bf01695730
  5. Pepla, E. (2014). Nano-hydroxyapatite and its applications in preventive, restorative and regenerative dentistry: a review of literature. Annali Di Stomatologia. doi: 10.11138/ads/2014.5.3.108
  6. Dabanoglu A, A. (2009). Whitening effect and morphological evaluation of hydroxyapatite materials. American Journal of Dentistry.
  7. Nasr-Esfahani, M., & Fekri, S. (2012). Alumina/TiO2/hydroxyapatite interface nanostructure composite filters as efficient photocatalysts for the purification of air. Reaction Kinetics, Mechanisms and Catalysis, 107(1), 89–103. doi: 10.1007/s11144-012-0457-x
  8. Pandi, K., & Viswanathan, N. (2014). Synthesis of alginate bioencapsulated nano-hydroxyapatite composite for selective fluoride sorption. Carbohydrate Polymers, 112, 662–667. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.06.029

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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

28 responses to “Benefits of Hydroxyapatite for Teeth and More”

  1. anna burns Avatar
    anna burns

    Wellness Mamas toothpaste contains the synthetic lab made hydroxyapatite, which I am uncomfortable using at this time. More studies need to be done on it. There is available natural bone derived hydroxyapatite which I wish she would use instead.

  2. anna burns Avatar
    anna burns

    I have been researching Hydroxyapatite and what I’m seeing after taking a deep dive into the studies is that there are 2 forms of it, one being synthetically made in a lab and the other is naturally derived from bovine bones. I saw too many studies that showed negative side affects from the synthetic and I felt alarmed from what I read, so I’m sticking with the naturally derived Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite MCHA (Bovine Calcium Powder). It does not surprise me that the synthetic is being pushed and called safe after the last 3 years of other drugs pushed and called safe and they ended up being dangerous. The same thing happened with fluoride when it came out. Now we know better.

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      The studies mentioned in the article fed rats very high doses of nanohydroxyapatite or it was injected into their bodies. Another study that cited DNA damage was done in vitro (test tube study). Neither of these methods accurately reflect what happens when hydroxyapatite is applied topically to teeth in small amounts and then spit out. It’s probably not safe to put it in baby formula, but then again there are lots of unhealthy ingredients in most baby formulas that shouldn’t be there. The brand Katie co-created, Wellnesse, uses naturally derived micro-hydroxyapatite, not nano. The studies mentioned here looked at nanohydroxyapatite, which has a different particle size and may not be as safe. Since teeth are naturally made of hydroxyapatite (not fluoride), using it in a toothpaste isn’t really adding something foreign to the tooth structure.

        1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

          I’ve read the article several times and from what I can tell the information in that section is speculation and referring to eating it. When you’re brushing your teeth with a substance that your teeth is made from (not eating it), the precautions and safety info are different. She’s drawing conclusions about micro-hydroxyapatite based off of evidence done on rats and in test tubes with a different (albeit similar) substance. The website author also suggests elsewhere to use fluoride treatments to remineralize teeth if necessary. Ultimately it comes down to everyone doing their own research, digging deep into the science, and making a decision that they feel comfortable with for themselves.

          1. Diane Avatar

            Thanks, and yes, more research is needed here. I get what you’re saying, but I can’t help thinking that you still end up ingesting some of it when brushing your teeth.

  3. Stephanie Avatar
    Stephanie

    Could I use this in your remineralizing toothpaste recipe? If so how much would you recommend? Thank you 🙂

  4. Melodie Avatar

    I am wondering if the hydroxyapatite in the Wellnesse Toothpaste is Nano-hydroxyapatite or just hdroxyapatite? I have read some pros and cons about nano-based particles and was wondering why you wouldn’t use the natural form of hydroxyapatite in powder form?

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      It is 5-8 um particle size, which our research chemists guarantee is effective for teeth! So it is not nano, but as close as we can get. To get smaller particle sizes, we would actually have to use synthetic nano-hydroxyapatite. But we want to make sure we keep things naturally-derived!

    2. anna burns Avatar
      anna burns

      the question that you want to ask is….is the hydroxyapatite synthetically derived or is it Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite MCHA (Bovine Calcium Powder)?
      I would not use the lab/synthetic version until much more research is done on it, even for toothpaste. Years ago, fluoride was introduced and called safe, but it wasn’t!

  5. Mary B Avatar

    Curious. I’ve used your recipe for homemade mineralizing tooth powder for a few years now. This last batch I started adding Calcium Carbonate. Now I’m reading about nano-hydroxyapatite. Have you switched from using your homemade products to commercially available ones, like Wellnesse? I’m curious, because I’m trying to figure out if you can just add Calcium hydroxyapatite to the homemade tooth powder in lieu of purchasing commercially available products. I can’t find where you can buy nano-hydroxyapatite, so I was curious what the difference between the two are, as far as particle size, and just overall similarity. Is it just that one is naturally occurring where the other is lab created? Thanks in advance.

  6. Radesh Avatar

    Interesting and quite informative article. Can we get this toothpaste in India as well ?

  7. Kelly Avatar

    Hello, this is a very informative article! Can you recommend a brand to purchase for Hydroxyapatite? I’m having trouble finding it in a powder rather than a capsule. And as far as using it to whiten teeth, would you just make a tooth powder/paste and brush as usual, or should I try to keep it on my teeth longer? Thanks so much!

  8. Amanda Avatar

    On the site of drdanenberg dot com, periodontist, his most recent blog post is regarding the potential toxicity of nanoparticles, including hydroxyapatite. He cites 3 journal articles that are about the potential cytotoxicity of hydroxyapatite. Have you seen those, and what are your thoughts?

    1. joe Avatar

      i so much would want to buy your hydorxyhapetite toothpaste but its not kosher …..
      can you pleas tsll me how can i ground cow bones in nano size to make my own toothpaste i will very apreceate it ?!

    2. Lili Avatar

      Hi Amanda, I was just going to write Katie about this here. I read about how hydroxyapatite in excess can result in calcification of the brain and especially the pineal gland, and how these calcium deposits are directly associated with degradation in brain function, including Parkinson’s. I have been seriously considering having a dentist use a composite filling made with hydroxyapatite, for all the reasons Katie cited. But now am wondering about how new it is, relatively, and if there are long-term, ill-effects. Katie, I’m curious if you have thought about that. I will likely want to do more research on how to decalcify the brain (and if you haven’t done an article on that, I wonder if you’ll consider).

    3. Marie Avatar

      She says in the comment to a reader she’s keeping it natural and not using nano particles. “It is 5-8 um particle size, which our research chemists guarantee is effective for teeth! So it is not nano, but as close as we can get. To get smaller particle sizes, we would actually have to use synthetic nano-hydroxyapatite. But we want to make sure we keep things naturally-derived!”

      Her article above state:

      Is Hydroxyapatite Safe?

      Both the 2019 study and the 10-year review mentioned earlier found that there is no concern about safety with HAp when used in the ways explained above. However, when used as a supplement it may cause side effects such as headache, dry mouth, frequent urination, fatigue, flushing or sweating, and stomach discomfort.

      I’d like to go check out the articles you posted about considering our family switched from Earthpaste to Wellnesse toothpaste.

  9. Mackenzie Smith Avatar
    Mackenzie Smith

    What is the difference—if there is one—between this and calcium carbonate?

  10. Rebecca Avatar
    Rebecca

    Do you recommend MCHA as a calcium supplement? Chris Kresser has this as his only calcium supplement recommendation.

  11. Chann Avatar

    Do you make the toothpaste in more kid friendly flavors? Would love to use it for my kids but they don’t like mint.

  12. Catherine Avatar
    Catherine

    My dentist says that hydroxyapatite is abrasive and doesn’t recommend using it for that reason. What’s up with that?

    1. Stephanie Avatar
      Stephanie

      Could I use this in your remineralizing toothpaste recipe? If so how much would you recommend? Thank you 🙂

      1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

        You could try adding some hydroxyapatite powder to the recipe. Some sources say 10% of the total recipe is effective. Maybe try using only 4 parts of calcium carbonate and adding 1 part of hydroxyapatite? If you try it let us know!

      2. J M Folks Avatar

        Where are you getting hydroxyapatite? I am having a hard time locating powder and not capsules.

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