Our Pioneering Role
Sangi was founded as a trading company in 1974, and first came to know of hydroxyapatite via a patented technology of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) while trading patents. NASA was studying ways to supply hydroxyapatite, the body’s major hard tissue component, to astronauts to protect their teeth and bones in a weightless environment.
NASA's patented technology
In our mouths, there is a constant daily cycle occurring in which the mineral components of tooth enamel are dissolved by acids from foods and plaque bacteria ("demineralization"), but then replaced by saliva, which restores the dissolved mineral components of the teeth, returning them to their original state again (“remineralization"). If, depending on your age or health, you produce less saliva, or if you neglect to take care of your teeth, this can cause the oral cavity to become acidic, prolonging the demineralization process and makes it harder for remineralization to occur, and this can lead to tooth decay. NASA was working on a solution to the problem of astronauts' teeth and bones becoming brittle in a zero-gravity environment and proposed using a hydroxyapatite precursor as a filler to restore this necessary mineral.
Taking a hint from the NASA patent, Sangi suggested that if hydroxyapatite, which is the same mineral as our teeth, could be used in toothpaste, it would be absorbed into the surface of teeth and restore tooth mineral during daily brushing.
The birth of apatite toothpaste
Sangi came up with the idea of the world's first “enamel restorative toothpaste" after encountering hydroxyapatite, and succeeded in synthesizing hydroxyapatite through its own technology and efforts. With the cooperation of dental universities and a partnering toothpaste manufacturer, the world's first hydroxyapatite toothpaste "APADENT" was born in 1980. APADENT was initially marketed as “the most expensive toothpaste in the world” selling for 2,800 yen per tube at the time.
Approval as a medical ingredient
Approval of Sangi's proprietary hydroxyapatite as a medicinal ingredient with anti-caries benefits took almost 15 years.
First many years of research were required to obtain the necessary data, from basic laboratory experiments to large-scale field trials that carried out by two universities on Sangi’s behalf in the 1980s.
Finally, in 1993 Japan’s former Ministry of Health and Welfare approved Sangi’s hydroxyapatite as "Medical Hydroxyapatite," acknowledging the following three anti-caries effects.
1) Adsorption and removal of dental plaque
2) Filling of microscopic defects on the tooth surface
3) Remineralization of sub-surface areas of mineral loss (incipient caries)
In 2003, Sangi succeeded in reducing the particle size of its hydroxyapatite from the three-digit nano level to the finer two-digit level, which enhanced its enamel penetration, remineralization rate and improvement of tooth whiteness, making it the world's first nanotech oral care product.