Caries progression has been shown to be faster in the deciduous than in the permanent dentition. Several factors influence caries progression. Among these are variations in the chemical composition of the two enamel types. The carbonate ion is known to occupy two different positions in the hydroxyapatite structure of the enamel, the hydroxide position (A) and the phosphate position (B). Carbonate may be of different chemical importance in the two lattice positions. In the present study, a quantitative determination of the carbonate in the two different positions (type A and type B) in deciduous and permanent enamel was performed by FTIR spectrometry. Calibration curves, made with synthesized hydroxyapatites with carbonates in either position, were used to determine the quantity of type A and type B carbonates in both enamel types. The deciduous enamel contained significantly more type A carbonate than permanent enamel. The total carbonate content (sum of type A and type B carbonates) was also significantly higher in deciduous than in permanent enamel. TG analysis of enamel samples confirmed the quantitative carbonate determinations by FTIR spectrometry. The difference in carbonate content between deciduous and permanent enamel may be one of several factors contributing to faster caries progression in deciduous teeth.


Quantitative determination of type A and type B carbonate in human deciduous and permanent enamel by means of Fourier transform infrared spectrometry.
Sønju Clasen AB, Ruyter IE
Adv Dent Res. 1997 Nov; 11(4): 523-527