Figure 1 Determining the Effect of Phosphate and Lanthanum on the Determination of Calcium. The red boxes represent calcium levels at different concentrations with no phosphate in solution. Phosphate has a suppressing effect on calcium when measuring with the AA, which poses a problem for us because calcium and phosphate are both found in teeth, and will both be in our solutions. This is shown by the green triangles, which represent a solution with both calcium and phosphate. We hope to solve this problem by adding lanthanum to the solutions; lanthanum counteracts the suppressive effect of phosphate and will allow us to take a better reading of the calcium concentrations of our solutions.
We (Dr. Stratton along with Clarissa Hunzeker and Malik Thalji) have been researching the effect of abrasive toothpaste on teeth. Specifically, we are measuring the amount of calcium and phosphate (the main components of tooth enamel) eroded away by the extended use of abrasive toothpaste. We will accomplish this by obtaining pig teeth, brushing them with different abrasive toothpastes, placing them in a synthetic saliva solution, and measuring the calcium and phosphate concentrations of the solution over time.
Malik measuring calcium concentrations using the AAS
Figure 2 This graph shows the concentration of phosphate compared to the response peak areas in standard solutions. One of the sets of standards contained calcium (green), in order to mimic the solutions with dissolved teeth. The calcium may suppress the phosphate calibration slightly, so this will have to be accounted for when we test our solutions
Additionally, we will test the effect of common acidic solutions, such as coffee, soda and wine on teeth. We will measure the calcium and phosphate concentrations to determine the effect of each acidic solution. We will use atomic absorbance spectroscopy (AAS), and ion chromatography (IC) to measure calcium and phosphate concentrations. Results coming soon!