© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Science & Medicine: Strengthening your teeth

Ways To Subscribe
Roberto Martinez

Imagine one day your child bites down on something and the enamel on one of their teeth starts to crumble. That can happen in a condition called molar incisor hypomineralization — otherwise known as chalky teeth. 

Bennett Amaechi,PhD, BDS, MSc, is a professor of cariology in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry at UT Health San Antonio. Amaechi's goal is to make sure that never happens. He wondered if a toothpaste made from synthetic hydroxyapatite — which is a component of our teeth — would remineralize chalky teeth. 

"So we tested it for remineralizing this particular situation and we found that it did very well," Amaechi said.

Bennett Amaechi is a professor of dentistry at UT Health San Antonio
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Bennett Amaechi, PhD, BDS, MSc, is a professor of cariology in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry at UT Health San Antonio.

In fact, the mineral density of the chalky teeth increased by 26%. 

That is a win for Amaechi, whose research is focused on discovering products that will prevent dental caries — a disease of the teeth that leads to demineralization and eventually cavities. 

"And that is our goal, to produce something that can be used by parents to prevent caries in their children, and for adults to avoid having caries for the rest of their life," he said.

Amaechi is also developing products that will protect the teeth of people who can’t create saliva because of medication that causes dry mouth or disease, like oral cancer. 

Science & Medicine is a collaboration between TPR and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, about how scientific discovery in San Antonio advances the way medicine is practiced everywhere.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.