Here Comes the Science Bit

Here Comes the Science Bit

Here Comes the Science Bit

Robert Hill explains to Sophie Bracken the technology behind BioMinF, the innovative new toothpaste that claims to remineralise tooth enamel over 12 hours thanks to slow-release bioactive glass technology.


BioMin Technologies, a spinout company from Queen Mary University ( ), has launched what is being referred to as a breakthrough in toothpaste technology.


BioMinF toothpaste contains bioactive glass that slowly releases calcium, phosphate and fluoride ions over an eight- to 12-hour timeframe to form Fluorapatite mineral, which rebuilds, strengthens and protects tooth structure.


The slow release of fluoride has been identified to be particularly beneficial in the prevention of tooth decay. Dentistry ( ) spoke to Professor Robert Hill, co-founder of BioMin Technologies and leader of the team that developed BioMinF, to find out more about the technology behind this innovative product.


Sophie Bracken (SB): Bioactive glass is very different to what most people know of glass. Could you describe the properties and its application in dentistry?


Robert Hill (RH): Most people regard glass as chemically inert and insoluble – it’s what we use in the lab to put strong acids in. But bioactive glass is quite different. These are glasses that actually dissolve. They dissolve in the mouth and release calcium and phosphate. In the case of our composition, it also releases fluoride.


Historically, bioactive glasses were developed as a bone substitute material and they’re regarded as a bioactive material. Thirty-plus years ago, medical device developers opted for chemically inert materials to make implants from, which produce very stable implants. Larry Hench, who invented bioactive glasses, started to think about materials that would stimulate a favourable biological response and materials that weren’t chemically inert, and in this case dissolved. That changed perspectives in the field.


The glass that’s used for bone grafts and bone substitutes was never originally designed as an additive for toothpastes. Despite that, it works surprisingly well and it’s quite easy to develop a glass that’s specifically designed and optimised for toothpastes.


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