In vitro surface microhardness (SMH) evaluation of human or bovine enamel or dentine supporting oral care dentifrice product development
The evaluation of surface microhardness (SMH) of human or bovine enamel or dentine is a fundamental element in evaluating the integrity of dental hard tissue. It is often used as a surrogate measure of the ‘healthiness’ of the enamel or dentine surface. Acid-challenged or demineralized tissue tends to be softer whereas healthy or remineralised tissue is harder. SMH is routinely used as the principle measure during in vitro pH cycling testing where the remineralisation potential of different dentifrices - often containing fluoride - can be compared. It is also used to test the integrity of enamel during in situ remineralisation/demineralization clinical testing.
Oral care dentifrices regularly undergo re-formulation in order to improve some aspect of dental care whether it be cosmetic (whitening, sensory feel, freshness) or therapeutic (plaque/gingivitis prevention, enamel care). The ability of fluoride dentifrices to protect or repair enamel is a core attribute which requires periodic testing in order to support product claims or satisfy Regulatory bodies. In vitro and clinical in situ studies are often used to provide such support and SMH measurement is a key aspect of the testing.
Our in vitro laboratory team has several surface microhardness machines available with which to probe the integrity of enamel and dentine, all run with the latest software packages. We can provide you with data derived from Knoop or Vickers indenters and can help you with the design of the study itself, depending on your specific aims. All our analysts are fully trained and cross-calibrated. Individuals will generally remain within a study from start to finish.
Measurement of SMH generally involves placing 5-10 indents per sample and calculating the mean indent length or hardness value. In situ remineralisation studies involve prior surface softening of the enamel with fruit juices or citric acid solutions or gels: this aspect is an area in which we possess much experience.
We are also happy to tailor in vitro pH cycling demineralisation / remineralisation studies to your particular needs and can work with you to develop the best possible test protocol.
For over 18 years our Clinical Research Services group has been a trusted partner for developers and manufacturers of oral care products. We provide a one source solution for both in vitro studies and human trials providing robust data to support the efficacy and safety of novel treatments.