Professor Hill, who led the team that developed the innovative bioactive glass in BioMin® F, is also Chief Scientific Officer at BioMin Technologies and was introducing new BioMin® F for Kids toothpaste. Eating sugary foods lowers the pH in the mouth, making teeth more susceptible to decay, and it takes saliva two or three hours to bring back to neutral pH7. With frequent snacking and drinking, the pH does not have the chance to recover (see graph). ‘The advantage of BioMin F is that as it dissolves, it raises the pH, and it actually dissolves faster when the pH in the mouth is lower, so it’s a smart material,’ he explained. ‘But instead of forming hydroxycarbonated apatite as a conventional bioglass would, it forms fluorapatite, which is about a unit of pH more stable to acids.’
And that protection against the effects of grazing is particularly relevant at the moment, he stressed, since surveys have shown that during the COVID-19 lockdown consumption of fizzy drinks and crisps rose 25-30% from April to June this year.
Professor Hill explained the background and development of BioMin F, and its action, continuously releasing not only low levels of fluoride but also calcium and phosphate ions to form fluorapatite, raising pH and remineralising tooth enamel. He referred to the caries expert, Professor ten Cate, who stated that ‘for treatments to be effective longer than the brushing and salivary clearance, fluoride needs to be deposited and slowly released’ – exactly as BioMin® works.
He also compared BioMin F’s remineralisation rates with other toothpastes and MI paste, illustrating that the presence of calcium and phosphate ions enhances the effect of the fluoride content, making BioMin F significantly more effective than other products to remineralise enamel surfaces. Professor Hill countered any fears about fluorosis by explaining that one of the advantages of BioMin F is that ‘because we are using the fluoride in a smarter way, via the slow release action, we can have a caries preventative effect at much lower fluoride concentrations. The fluoride content of BioMin F is only about 530 parts per million compared with conventional toothpastes at 1450ppm, so dropping the fluoride content will help to prevent fluorosis too,’ he said.
New BioMin F for Kids has the same active ingredient loading as original BioMin F, he explained; the only difference being the gel texture and child-friendly flavours of strawberry and melon, and a range of materials based on the Bino character, such as stickers, colouring in documents and a brushing chart, all available to download – to make brushing fun.
He hinted at a range of new products in the pipeline, based on the bioactive glass technology behind BioMin F. These include varnishes, self-repairing filling materials, and adhesives for orthodontic appliances. ‘In all these areas the fluoride bioactive glass technology has considerable promise,’ he said.