Innovation and research
There has been a decline in caries in Germany in the past few years. This very positive result is particularly due to the great commitment of dentists to provide information to their patient and the offer of professional cleaning and prophylaxis programs for patients. However, current studies from the Robert Koch Institute show that 99% of adults and approx. 50% of children with milk teeth (6/7 year-old children) have had experience with caries. Normal oral care products are reaching their limit. New approaches and alternative concepts are necessary to prevent future challenges. This can only be successful with innovative concepts and intensive research.
Research at Dr. Kurt Wolff
Research at Dr. Wolff has been of central importance and significance since the company was founded in 1905. Research of innovations in at-home oral care is conducted in the company itself as well as in cooperation with independent institutes and university hospitals. Ultrastructural examinations of the interactions between hydroxyapatite particles and the enamel surface were conducted with the "Biological composites" working group at the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research in Düsseldorf.
Our teeth and caries
Our teeth are made up of approx. 97% hydroxyapatite and are considered the hardest substance in the human body. Hydroxyapatite is a natural crystalline substance with the chemical formula Ca5(PO4)3(OH). The special crystal structure is responsible for the high fracture strength of the teeth. It only becomes a problem for teeth if they are exposed to acids. As with every other calcium phosphate compound, hydroxyapatite is also acid-soluble. It has been adequately proven and is well known that acids can be produced from various oral microorganisms (such as Streptococcus mutans). These acids (particularly lactic acid) lead to the calcium and phosphate ions dissolving out of the crystal structure. It is often the smallest lesions that initially go unnoticed. Almost every person frequently has initial caries (demineralisation) that do not lead to further permanent damage. This is mainly due to the saliva: as an acid buffer, it contains not only antimicrobial substances (lactoferrin, lysozymes, peroxidases etc.) but also calcium phosphate ions that can remineralize the enamel.
Caries prevention with hydroxyapatite
In order to prevent enamel dissolution caused by (bacterial) acids, it is important that the tooth is protected, plaque formation is controlled and, ideally, the flow of saliva is stimulated. Hydroxyapatite is able to form a protective layer on the enamel that protect the teeth from acid attacks. Other positive properties include the anti-adhesive effect: one the one hand, it slows down the build-up of bacteria on the tooth surface and, on the other hand, free hydroxyapatite particles reduce plaque by binding microorganisms to it. This biomimetic substance is also added externally when using Karex and does not require saliva to protect and repair enamel.