A toothpaste that repairs the minuscule holes in teeth that can ultimately lead to fillings has been developed in Britain.
The product includes BioMinF, which binds to the teeth, filling any decay and slowly releasing a mix of calcium, phosphate and fluoride.
It has been developed by a team led by Professor Robert Hill, who is chairman of Dental Physical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London.
In the future, the ingredient – known as a bioactive glass – will be used to make varnishes to protect children’s teeth. Researchers are also investigating how it could herald an era of dentistry without drills.
The BioMinF effectively reverses the damage caused by acidic drinks and other food and drink. It will also help those with sensitive teeth. Prof Hill said tests showed the product was more advanced than other re-mineralising toothpastes because the fluoride in BioMinF is released more slowly, over eight or nine hours.
The technology behind the breakthrough has been licensed from Queen Mary University and Imperial College and will form the basis of toothpaste and other products launched by BioMin Technologies.
The team will start selling the toothpaste, which is being made in Stoke-on-Trent, immediately via its own website and plans to work in partnership with other manufacturers around the world. It costs £4.99 (about R100) for a regular 75ml tube.
Prof Hill said: “Using re-mineralising toothpaste makes teeth far more resistant to attack from acidic soft drinks.”
The body’s natural defences include calcium and phosphate in saliva, which helps protect teeth against damage. BioMinF includes a mix of calcium, phosphate, fluoride and a dissolving polymer which helps the substance stick to the teeth.