Essay: What is Hydroxyapatite
Hydroxyapatite, the main component of the enamel is a very hard mineral, which combines with a protein and water to form the enamel and dentine. The chemical formula for hydroxyapatite is Ca10(OH)2(PO4)6 thus making it a calcium phosphate. Tooth wear is the cumulative multifactorial lifetime process, and dental erosion is, besides attrition, abrasion and demastication, an important factor for tooth wear. (Lussi et al 2000) Dental erosion is thus, the loss of the hard tissue, enamel, through chemical processes whereby there are no microorganisms involved.
The agents that accelerate erosion of the enamel can be acids present in the beverages we use or from other environmental factors. It is of paramount importance to note repetitive vomiting is dangerous to the enamel. This is because of the fact that gastronomic fluids are rich in acids, which dissolve the enamel and thus making it weak and susceptible to erosion (Columbian University College of Dental Medicine 2009). The study of the pH of most of the beverages we take helps in understanding the chemical processes that take place to increase dental erosion.
The measurement of the hardness of the enamel using indentation techniques goes a long way in understanding the causes of erosion through acid intake. Dental erosion starts when the acids make them weak by changing the chemical formula and dissolving the enamel surface. Therefore, measurement of the hardness of the enamel is the first step in determining the start of dental erosion.