Observations of enamel microstructure in incipient lesions remineralized by NaF dentifrices

M Asaizumi, N Yagi, K Aoyama, T Kato, T Kuga, N Oode, T Oda, T Sakurada, S Nagase, T Tabara, RL Karlinsey. Observations of enamel microstructure in incipient lesions remineralized by NaF dentifrices. Dental Research & Management 110, 19 (2016).


Synchrotron Radiation (SR) Wide-angle X-ray Diffraction (WAXD) and Small-angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) techniques were used to assess microstructure of bovine enamel white-spot lesions (WSL) evaluated in a 10-day pH cycling model comprising three different dentifrice groups: (A) 0.21% NaF plus TCP (Clinpro Tooth Crème), (B) 1.1% NaF plus TCP (Clinpro 5000), or (C) 0% NaF (Tom’s of Maine) dentifrice. Each day consisted of four 2-minute treatments, one 4-hour acid challenge (pH=5.0), and immersion in artificial saliva (pH=7.0) between these events. These specimens were also examined with cross-sectional microhardness, digital light microscopy and FE-SEM (field emission scanning electron microscope), and demonstrated the remineralization model effected changes in subsurface microstructure. X-ray diffraction data from WAXD and SAXS were collected on enamel slab cross-sections extending from 0 μm to 150 μm in 6 μm microbeam increments. A primary outcome of this observational study was that simultaneous WAXD and SAXS measurements were able to resolve significant differences (ANOVA, Student’s t-test, p<0.05) between the effects of the two fluoride-containing dentifrices on subsurface lesion microstructure. In particular, enamel lesions treated with 1.1% NaF dentifrice group manifested an abundance of nanometer-sized crystallites, while treatment with the 0.21% NaF dentifrice produced larger apatite-like crystals. While the presence of fluoride in both cases promoted regularity in crystal size and orientation, this was not observed for lesions treated without fluoride. Altogether, our observations demonstrate the pathological processes for remineralization are markedly influenced by the presence and concentration of fluoride, the microstructural characteristics of which can be distinguished using the simultaneous WAXD and SAXS technique.


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Robert L. Karlinsey, PhD

Dr. Robert L. Karlinsey earned a BS in Physics and PhD in Chemical Physics, holds several patents, and has published in multiple fields including dentistry, chemistry, and materials science. His lifelong struggles with his own dental decay ultimately inspired him to investigate the remineralization of teeth.