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Vol. 45, No. 3, 2011
Issue release date: July 2011
Caries Res 2011;45:313–322

Effects of Zinc and Fluoride on the Remineralisation of Artificial Carious Lesions under Simulated Plaque Fluid Conditions

Lynch R.J.M. · Churchley D. · Butler A. · Kearns S. · Thomas G.V. · Badrock T.C. · Cooper L. · Higham S.M.
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The aim was to study the effects of zinc (Zn) and fluoride (F) on remineralisation at plaque fluid concentrations. Artificial carious lesions were created in 2 acid-gel demineralising systems (initially infinitely undersaturated and partially saturated with respect to enamel) giving lesions with different mineral distribution characteristics (high and low R values, respectively) but similar integrated mineral loss values. Lesions of both types were assigned to 1 of 4 groups and remineralised for 5 days at 37°C. Zn and F were added, based on plaque fluid concentrations 1 h after application, to give 4 treatments: 231 µmol/l Zn, 10.5 µmol/l F, Zn/F combined and an unmodified control solution (non-F/non-Zn). Subsequently remineralisation was measured using microradiography. High-R lesions were analysed for calcium, phosphorus, F and Zn using electron probe micro-analysis. All lesions underwent statistically significant remineralisation. For low-R lesions, remineralisation was in the order Fa < non-F/non-Zna < Zna, b < Zn/Fb, and for high-R lesions Fa < non-F/non-Znb < Znb < Zn/Fc (treatments with the same superscript letter not significantly different, at p < 0.05). Qualitatively, remineralisation occurred throughout non-F/non-Zn and Zn groups, predominantly at the surface zone (F) and within the lesion body (Zn/F). Electron probe micro-analysis revealed Zn in relatively large amounts in the outer regions (Zn, Zn/F). F was abundant not only at the surface (F), but also in the lesion body (Zn/F). Calcium:phosphate ratios were similar to hydroxyapatite (all). To conclude, under static remineralising conditions simulating plaque fluid, Zn/F treatment gave significantly greater remineralisation than did F treatment, possibly because Zn in the Zn/F group maintained greater surface zone porosity compared with F, facilitating greater lesion body remineralisation.

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