What Is the Purpose of Dicalcium Phosphate?

Manufacturers use dicalcium phosphate in many products. Chemists add it to your toothpaste and makeup. Hygienists use it to clean your teeth. Dentists use it to restore your jaw. And doctors use it to repair your joints.

Dicalcium phosphate makes health products like toothpaste effective and safe. (Image: Science Photo Library/Science Photo Library/GettyImages)

A September 2018 review in Acta Biomaterialia stated that this ubiquitous chemical remains safe when used in small doses, but you should still speak to a doctor before taking supplements, since they may have unwanted effects.

Tip

Supplementing with dicalcium phosphate can help you strengthen your bones.

Dicalcium Phosphate for Bone Healing

Orthopedic surgeons use dicalcium phosphate during bone grafts. A May 2018 paper in EFORT Open Reviews noted that this chemical closely resembles natural bone. This similarity gives doctors new options for blending synthetic and real bone to create a strong matrix for the healing process. Synthetic bone also allows drug delivery to the healing area via nanoparticles.

Dicalcium Phosphate for Oral Health

Oral surgeons also use dicalcium phosphate to aid in the healing process. A May 2018 article in the Open Dentistry Journal described the positive impact the chemical can have on oral health.

Your body can't tell the difference between dicalcium phosphate and real teeth. Such biomimetics have great potential given their safety profile. Dicalcium phosphate can also replace fluoride as the best way to prevent tooth decay. Manufacturers often add it to teeth whiteners as an abrasive to gently polish your teeth.

Dicalcium Phosphate as a Supplement

Farmers often supplement their livestock feed with inorganic phosphorus. This technique compensates for the low availability and poor digestibility of food-related phosphorus. A January 2018 report in the Journal of Entomology and Zoology showed that dicalcium phosphate supplementation created high levels of circulating phosphorus. Many people with mineral deficiencies use supplements to give them access to calcium and phosphorus.

Dicalcium phosphate supplementation has other benefits. A February 2015 article in Aquaculture Nutrition showed that young fish given dicalcium phosphate grew into larger, more muscular adults, and scientists have found similar results in many farm animals. Supplementing calcium and phosphorus may also help you prevent age-related bone loss, according to a 2013 report in PJMHS.

Dicalcium Phosphate and Drug Incompatibilities

Pharmacists use fillers like dicalcium phosphate to stabilize drug formulations. Yet it doesn't combine well with acidic drugs like the sleeping pill temazepam. An April 2015 report from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists described how these formulations can weaken over time. They can also create new, unwanted chemicals as they decay.

Dicalcium Phosphate and Side Effects

Few people experience problems from dicalcium phosphate. Even so, scientists have documented side effects. A February 2016 report in the Bulletin of Pharmaceutical Research noted that the chemical can be a skin irritant. Over time, it will dry out and break down skin cells. Interestingly, these effects can spread to areas which haven't seen direct contact. Dicalcium phosphate can also cause feelings of nausea.

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