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Hydroxyapatite is the principal crystal for all calcified tissue in the human body. The fluoride ion reacts with the hydroxyapatite in the tooth as it is formed to produce the more caries-resistant crystal, fluorapatite. The reaction may be expressed by the equation:¹
|Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2+2F ¯||>||Ca10(PO4)6F2+2OH ¯|
Three stages of fluoride deposition in tooth enamel can be distinguished:¹
1. Small amounts (reflecting the low levels of fluoride in tissue fluids) are incorporated into the enamel crystals while they are being formed.
2. After enamel has been laid down, fluoride deposition continues in the surface enamel. Diffusion of fluoride from the surface inward is apparently restricted.
3. After eruption, the surface enamel acquires fluoride from water, food, supplementary fluoride, and smaller amounts from saliva.
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/8/2004
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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