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Microscopic Study of Hydroxyapatite Dissolution As Affected by Fluoride Ions

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posted on 2011-05-03, 00:00 authored by Ki-Young Kwon, Eddie Wang, Michel Nofal, Seung-Wuk Lee
Fluoride ions play a critical role in preventing tooth decay. We investigated the microscopic effects of fluoride ions on hydroxyapatite (100) surface dissolution using in situ atomic force microscopy. In the presence of 10 mM NaF, individual surface step retraction velocities decreased by about a factor of 5 as compared to NaF-free conditions. Importantly, elongated hexagonal etch pits, which are characteristic of (100) surface dissolution, were no longer observed when NaF was present. The alteration of pit shape is more distinct at a higher NaF concentration (50 mM) where triangular etch pits evolved during dissolution. Furthermore, in a fluoride concentration typical for tap water (10 μM), we observed roughening of individual step lines, resulting in the formation of scalloped morphologies. Morphological changes to individual steps across a wide range of fluoride concentrations suggest that the cariostatic capabilities of fluoride ions originate from their strong interactions with molecular steps.