Decay,  Products

Hydroxyapatite Vs. Fluoride: Differences, Which is Better, How They Compare

Key Facts

  • Both hydroxyapatite and fluoride are substances used in toothpastes to protect and repair teeth.
  • Fluoride works by strengthening tooth enamel and making it more resistant to acid erosion and decay.
  • Hydroxyapatite contributes to the remineralization of tooth enamel, promoting repair and protection.
  • Hydroxyapatite is the main mineral component of tooth enamel, while fluoride is not naturally occurring in teeth.
  • Both hydroxyapatite and fluoride toothpastes have been shown to be effective in preventing dental caries (cavities).

How Does Fluoride Toothpaste Work?

Fluoride in toothpaste works to protect teeth in two key ways. First, it slows down the process of demineralization – the dissolution of tooth enamel caused by acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. Second, it aids in the remineralization process – the natural repair process of teeth, where minerals are re-deposited into tooth enamel after being removed by acids.
When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, the fluoride ions are absorbed into the tooth enamel. This helps to harden the enamel and makes it more resistant to acid attack. These ions can also attract other minerals, such as calcium and phosphate, to the tooth surface, enhancing the remineralization process. Fluoride can also inhibit bacteria in the mouth, reducing acid production.

How Does Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste Work?

Hydroxyapatite is the primary mineral that makes up tooth enamel, accounting for nearly 97% of its mineral content. When used in toothpaste, it contributes to the remineralization process, working to restore tooth enamel.
Hydroxyapatite particles in toothpaste bond with tooth enamel to form a protective layer, filling in tiny pits and fissures on the tooth surface. This helps to prevent plaque from adhering to the teeth and reduces the risk of tooth decay. Furthermore, by creating a smoother tooth surface, hydroxyapatite can help to reduce tooth sensitivity and improve the tooth’s overall appearance by providing a whiter, glossier sheen.

Is Hydroxyapatite the Same as Fluoride?

While both hydroxyapatite and fluoride are used in toothpaste and contribute to oral health, they are not the same substance and function differently. Hydroxyapatite is a naturally occurring mineral that makes up the majority of tooth enamel, while fluoride is a mineral that is not a natural part of tooth structure but can be incorporated into the tooth enamel to strengthen it and make it more resistant to decay.

Forms of Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

Hydroxyapatite toothpaste typically comes in two forms: regular hydroxyapatite and nano-hydroxyapatite. The only difference between these two types lies in the size of the hydroxyapatite particles. Nano-hydroxyapatite particles are significantly smaller, allowing them to penetrate deeper into the enamel surface and provide a more thorough remineralization effect.

Nano-Hydroxyapatite vs Hydroxyapatite – What are the Differences?

The primary difference between nano-hydroxyapatite and regular hydroxyapatite lies in the particle size. Nano-hydroxyapatite particles are much smaller, allowing them to fill in tiny microscopic gaps in the enamel more effectively. This can lead to a smoother, glossier tooth surface and enhanced protection against decay. Despite these differences, both forms of hydroxyapatite contribute to the remineralization process and can help protect against tooth decay.

Types of Toothpaste That Contain Hydroxyapatite

Hydroxyapatite is typically found in remineralizing toothpastes, often marketed as being “natural” or “bioactive”. These toothpastes are designed to promote the natural repair process of tooth enamel, restoring minerals to areas that have been demineralized due to acid attack. Some hydroxyapatite toothpastes may also contain other active ingredients, such as xylitol, a natural sweetener that can help inhibit the growth of oral bacteria.

Brands of Toothpaste That Contain Hydroxyapatite

Numerous brands produce toothpastes containing hydroxyapatite. Some popular ones include:

  • Boka
  • BioRepair
  • RiseWell
  • Apagard
  • BioMin
  • Teeth & Gums
  • Dr. Collins BioMin Restore Toothpaste

Remember to always check the ingredients list to verify the presence of hydroxyapatite.

Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste Side Effects

Hydroxyapatite toothpaste is generally safe and does not usually produce side effects. Some individuals may experience a slight alteration in the taste of the toothpaste due to the hydroxyapatite. As with any toothpaste, it should not be swallowed and should be kept out of reach of children.

How Does Hydroxyapatite Compare to Fluoride in Efficacy?

Both hydroxyapatite and fluoride toothpastes have been shown to be effective in promoting remineralization and protecting against tooth decay. Some studies suggest that hydroxyapatite toothpaste may be as effective, if not more so, than fluoride toothpaste in these respects. However, more research is needed in this area, as the majority of studies to date have favored fluoride for its long history of use and extensive research supporting its benefits.

Benefits of Using Fluoride Toothpaste Over Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

Fluoride toothpaste has a long history of use and is widely accepted by the dental community for its proven benefits in reducing tooth decay and promoting remineralization. Fluoride can also inhibit the metabolism of bacteria in the mouth, reducing acid production and further protecting teeth.

Benefits of Hydroxyapatite Over Fluoride Toothpastes

Hydroxyapatite toothpaste can be a good option for those who prefer a more “natural” toothpaste, as it is the primary mineral found in tooth enamel. It can also create a smoother, glossier tooth surface, which can improve the tooth’s overall appearance. Additionally, unlike fluoride, hydroxyapatite does not carry the risk of fluorosis, a condition that can cause discoloration of the teeth if excessive amounts of fluoride are ingested during tooth development.

Is Fluorapatite Stronger than Hydroxyapatite?

Fluorapatite, the form of hydroxyapatite that is modified by fluoride, is more resistant to acid erosion than regular hydroxyapatite. This is why fluoride is often added to toothpaste and public water supplies – to strengthen tooth enamel and make it more resistant to decay.

Which One Is Better For Stopping Caries? Fluoride or Hydroxyapatite?

Both fluoride and hydroxyapatite have been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of caries. While more research is needed, some studies suggest that hydroxyapatite may be as effective as fluoride in this regard. The best option will depend on an individual’s specific needs and preferences.

Should I Switch to Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste?

Whether or not to switch to hydroxyapatite toothpaste is a personal decision that should be based on individual needs and preferences. Some individuals may prefer hydroxyapatite toothpaste for its natural properties and potential aesthetic benefits, while others may prefer fluoride toothpaste for its proven track record in preventing decay. It’s always a good idea to discuss your options with a dental professional to make the best choice for your oral health.

Which Toothpaste Brands Contain Hydroxyapatite?

Brands such as Boka, Apagard, BioMin, and Dr. Collins offer toothpastes containing hydroxyapatite. Always check the ingredients list to verify the presence of hydroxyapatite.

Who Should Use Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste?

Anyone looking for a toothpaste that can help to restore and protect tooth enamel may benefit from using hydroxyapatite toothpaste. It may be particularly beneficial for those with a high risk of tooth decay or those who prefer a more “natural” toothpaste option.

How Long Should I Brush My Teeth With Hydroxyapatite?

As with any toothpaste, it is recommended to brush for two minutes, twice a day, with hydroxyapatite toothpaste. It’s also important to ensure that all surfaces of the teeth are thoroughly cleaned.


Both hydroxyapatite and fluoride offer significant benefits for oral health and can help protect against tooth decay. Whether one is “better” than the other will depend largely on individual needs and preferences. As with all matters relating to oral health, it’s always best to discuss your options with a dental professional to make the most informed decision.

This article is complete and was published on June 8, 2022, and last updated on January 3, 2023.

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