RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Continuing Innovation, based on Hydroxyapatite
1) Development of Toothpaste and Other Personal Care Products
The main thrust of Sangi’s toothpaste research is to develop new formulations and technologies that will further enhance the existing benefits of nano Medical Hydroxyapatite (nano ‹mHAP›).
One approach is to study the remineralization enhancement effect, in combination with nano‹mHAP›, of candidate substances derived from fields such as foodstuffs, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Another is to develop new formulations. Even using the same substance, combination with materials having different properties, or adjustment of composition volumes can lead to different stimulatory effects on the action of the remineralizing ingredient. The aim is to offer consumers ever-better products under our own brand, and our OEM customers products with characteristics that are best suited to them.
We are also constantly working on improving nano‹mHAP› itself. Different methods of synthesis make it possible to modify the ingredient’s particle morphology and adsorption characteristics, both to improve its existing effects and to discover previously unknown properties. The aim of these tests is to go beyond nano‹mHAP›’s existing anticaries and whitening effects, based on remineralization, to demonstrate its additional and potential benefits in alleviating oral and systemic diseases beyond those of the teeth, such as periodontal disease, now linked to diseases throughout the body, aspiration pneumonia in the elderly, and the easing of hyperesthesia.
Sangi is also going beyond oral care, to develop personal care products in the cosmetics field, such as facial washes and cleansers, drawing on properties of hydroxyapatite such as its ability to efficiently adsorb and remove flaking cells and oils from the surface of the skin.
2) Development of Products for Professional Use
Sangi has also put the properties of hydroxyapatite to use in working to develop dental materials and medical equipment for dental professional use. Most of these are firsts in the field, and the accumulation of data from laboratory experiments and clinical trials necessary for regulatory approval requires considerable time. Two examples are introduced here.
The goal of this system, using the bacterial adsorption properties of fine particle hydroxyapatite, is to reduce the proportion, within the total oral bacterial flora, of mutans streptococci, one of the key pathogens implicated in tooth decay – aiming to create a healthier oral environment less susceptible to the development of caries.
To achieve this goal, a new type of hydroxyapatite with enhanced adsorption properties for the target bacteria was developed, and applied to the teeth as a cream in a dental retainer tray immediately after professional mechanical tooth cleaning (PMTC) and then once daily for a week thereafter. Clinical trials in Japan showed the proportion of the target bacteria fell after just one week’s treatment, and remained low for the next two months, and subsequent clinical tests also suggested two months as an appropriate recall period.
The prototype product showed no evidence of allergic reactions or bacterial resistance arising, as can be seen with sterilizing systems involving antibacterial agents, and was considered safe to use. Work on its development is still continuing.
Developed in conjunction with Japan’s Tohoku University, this system, in which ultra-fine hydroxyapatite particles are blasted at high speed onto the surface of the tooth, represents a revolutionary approach to future dental care.
By directly creating a new layer of enamel on the tooth surface, virtually indistinguishable from the existing substance of the tooth (since tooth enamel naturally comprises 97% hydroxyapatite), it opens the way to future clinical applications including cavity sealing during traditional drill-and-fill cavity repair, occlusion and coating of exposed dentinal tubules, to prevent hypersensitivity, whitening of discolored teeth, by providing a new surface layer rather than by abrasion or bleaching as in traditional methods, and protection against caries of susceptible teeth, for example in children, by providing and additional layer of hydroxyapatite on the surface of the teeth.
Consisting of a specially designed spray unit and handpiece, and specifically designed hydroxyapatite powders, the PJD system has been shown to be safe and effective in preliminary clinical trials, and has been the object of successive government grants from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). The next step to complete is a full-scale, possibly multi-centered clinical trial.