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Biological factors in dental caries: role of remineralization and fluoride in the dynamic process of demineralization and remineralization (part 3)

  • John Hicks1,*,
  • Franklin Garcia-Godoy2
  • Catherine Flaitz3

1Department of Pathology, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Dental Branch, Texas Children's Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, Houston Tx

2School of Dental Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Fl

3Departments of Diagnostic Sciences and Pediatric Dentistry, University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, Dental Branch, Houston Tx

DOI: 10.17796/jcpd.28.3.w0610427l746j34n Vol.28,Issue 3,July 2004 pp.203-214

Published: 01 July 2004

*Corresponding Author(s): John Hicks E-mail:


Dental caries is a complex disease process that afflicts a large proportion of the world, regardless of gender,

age and ethnicity, although it does tend to affect more with a low socioeconomic status to a greater extent.

Remineralization may be enhanced by providing low levels of calcium and phosphate, in conjunction with

minimal amounts of fluoride. It is truly remarkable the difference that a very small amount of fluoride

(<1ppm) has upon demineralization and remineralization. This is because fluoride acts as a catalyst and

influences reaction rates with dissolution and transformation of various calcium phosphate mineral phases

within tooth structure and resident within plaque adjacent to tooth surfaces. The incorporation of minimal

amounts of fluoride into HAP yields FHAP that resists demineralization to similar level as FAP. New and

emerging methods have been and are in the process of being developed. These hold great promise for preventing

and reversing caries, especially in the one-fifth of the population that accounts for two-thirds of the

caries experience. Still, the mainstay in caries prevention and remineralization is frequent exposure to low

levels of fluoride. This may be accomplished with fluoridated toothpastes, supplemented with fluoride

mouthrinses,CPP-ACP containing chewing gum and application of fluoride varnishes.The role of systemic

fluorides appears to be limited and primarily has a topical effect.

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John Hicks,Franklin Garcia-Godoy,Catherine Flaitz. Biological factors in dental caries: role of remineralization and fluoride in the dynamic process of demineralization and remineralization (part 3). Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry. 2004. 28(3);203-214.


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