Project Details


This award by the Biomaterials program in the Division of Materials Research to Rutgers University is to study the mechanism of fluoride substitution into mineralized tissues and, hence, to determine the optimal levels of exposure to fluoride ions. This research will test the hypothesis that the mechanism of fluoride substitution into mineralized tissues is highly dependent on the microstructure of the mineral/organic matrix. In particular, it is postulated that fluoride can substitute readily into the porous structure of bone and dentin, but it can only entire dental enamel in significant quantities when the enamel's structure has been compromised, for instance during caries formation. Fluoride is known to be beneficial in reducing the incidence of tooth decay, but it can also have detrimental effects with over exposure causing a condition known as fluorosis which can affect both bones and teeth. The results of the research will have significant implications in the areas of oral hygiene, public health and water fluoridation. Through an educational outreach program (Nanotechnology In Classroom Education), school teachers from selected New Jersey schools with significant numbers of minority and disadvantaged students are brought to Rutgers University each summer to develop simple, but exciting, experimental demonstrations and lessons that can be used in K-12 school classrooms.Fluoride in drinking water and oral hygiene products can have significant beneficial effects in terms of reducing tooth decay. However, over exposure to fluoride can cause fluorosis which discolors teeth and increases the risk of bone fracture. This research will help identify how the beneficial effects of fluoride treatments can be increased while the detrimental effects are mitigated. The information developed by this project will assist oral hygiene companies in developing better products to prevent tooth decay, and help federal and local government agencies set standards for water fluoridation. Nanotechnology is of growing importance in many industries and a workforce educated in the essentials of this topic has been highlighted as essential to the future of the US economy. An educational program, Nanotechnology In Classroom Education, is being developed in parallel to the research program that will help K-12 school teachers educate their students about the basics of nanotechnology. Each summer the selected teachers will work at Rutgers University on developing simple, but exciting, experimental demonstrations and lessons that can be utilized in a K-12 school environment.
Effective start/end date7/15/106/30/12


  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))

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