Caries also called as tooth decay and cavities refer to the breakdown of teeth due to acids produced by bacteria. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, about 92% of adults ages 20 to 64 have dental caries in their permanent teeth. Figures also reveal that 26% of adults from the same age group have untreated tooth decay[i]. Although common, caries prevention is possible with the right approach. The CPP-ACP in some dental hygiene products is widely praised for its potential to prevent caries, but is that true? Keep reading to find out.

What is there to know about dental caries?

As we mentioned earlier, dental caries is the scientific term that is being used to refer to tooth decay or cavities. Dental caries is considered to be one of the most common and most persistent dental diseases of the 21st century and unfortunately, the numbers are expected to grow in the future. The development of the dental caries is explained easily – whenever you eat, the bacteria in your mouth produce acids to help digest some of the food before it is headed down to the gut. These acids and the waste food in the mouth, if not removed properly and in time, produce a plaque that contains the acids with their ability to seriously damage the tooth enamel. It all results in the development of dental caries. Most commonly, dental caries affects the top of the teeth but it can form in between teeth as well. Because the tooth enamel is destroyed, dental caries causes the tooth to get destroyed from the inside out. Luckily, dental caries is easily treated while in its early stages by using crowns and fillings after dental caries has been carefully removed. However, when it comes to dental caries, it is always better to be prevented than to have the need to remove it. The best way to prevent dental caries from forming is, of course, taking a really good care of your dental hygiene and getting your regular check-ups at the dentist’s office. But there is another quite effective prevention method that you need to know about.

What is CPP-ACP?

Casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) is defined as a milk product that aids remineralization and prevents dental caries. CPP has the potential to deliver ACP and allow it to bind with the dental enamel. The CPP-ACP is present as an ingredient in many dental hygiene products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, and in chewing gums. If you look up the label on your current toothpaste or chewing gum, chances are that you will find CPP-ACP listed among the ingredients that had been used to produce that single product. The dental filling material also contains CPP-ACP. It is believed that remineralization of hard tissues allows CPP-ACP prevent and treat caries and erosively dissolved enamel. Other potential implications of CPP-ACP are to aid in the treatment of hypersensitive teeth and hyposalivation[ii].

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Can CPP-ACP prevent caries?

If you have browsed for tips to prevent caries, chances are you came across recommendations to use CPP-ACP products. Claims are one thing, but the reality is something else and it is impossible not to wonder whether CPP-ACP helps. Hopefully, today’s article will give you all the needed answer on this topic. This milk derivative helps prevent or treat caries by replenishing lost minerals like calcium and phosphate ions into tooth structure. That’s why they prove to be effective in the treatment of white spots, early childhood caries, root caries, dental erosion, and other problems[iii].

Besides replenishing lost minerals, CPP can perform other important functions too. For example, evidence shows that casein phosphopeptide decreases the concentration of Streptococcus mutans, bacterium commonly found in the human oral cavity and a major contributor to tooth decay. CPP reduces the count of these bacteria thanks to its ability to integrate into the pellicle, a smooth, slippery and slick film that covers the gums and teeth. By reducing its levels, naturally, it reduces your chances of suffering though tooth decay and later dental caries that will destroy your teeth.

How does CPP-ACP work?

At this point it’s obvious CPP-ACP works through remineralization, but how does the process develop? Basically, CPP forms nanoclusters with ACP and they provide a pool of phosphate and calcium to maintain supersaturation of saliva. Due to the fact that CPP-ACP stabilizes levels of these minerals in solution, they aid in buffering of the pH of the plaque[iv]. This increases pH of calcium and phosphate and makes tooth enamel more resilient, which results in caries prevention. The use of CPP-ACP in toothpaste and chewing gums is particularly effective with early caries lesions. It has the ability to counteract the action of acids in case of erosion[v]. CPP-ACP, also found in toothpaste in mousse form, is considered more effective than regular fluoride toothpaste[vi] when it comes to neutralizing acids, blocking dentinal tubules, and reducing hypersensitivity of the teeth. A combination of CPP-ACP and fluoride is also beneficial as they enhance one another’s effects.

Tips to prevent caries

If we have learned anything from today’s article that is of course, how important it is to act in time in order to prevent the occurrence and development of dental caries. As seen above, CPP-ACP complex can be of huge help in prevention and management of caries and other dental problems such as hypersensitivity of the teeth and hyposalivation. Consult your dentist about including mouthwash and toothpaste with this complex into your oral hygiene routine, but you can also look for chewing gums that contain CPP-ACP. Luckily for us, nowadays there are numerous brands offering their dental hygiene products with CPP-ACP included in their composition, you just have to find the right brand for you. Remember to consult your dentist to find out everything that you can about the brand that you have on the mind and get a professional opinion that you can rely on. Other tips to prevent caries are:

Brush and floss teeth regularly – Maintaining good oral hygiene is everything and it is the one method that will keep any dental disease as far away as possible from you. Remind yourself to wash your teeth after every meal and floss as well.

Use mouthwash – Instead of washing your mouth by using water after you are done with washing your teeth, buy yourself a quality mouthwash, preferably one that has added CPP-ACP. Keep a smaller bottle of mouthwash in your bag so that you can use it whenever you want to refresh your mouth instead of using chewing gum.

Eat nutritious and balanced meals – A healthy diet which consists of every food group will keep you fit, healthy, energized and in a great mood in addition to keeping your optimal dental health untouched.

Limit consumption of sweets and other unhealthy foods – Sweets and all the common snacks with added sugars are what makes it easier for dental caries to take over your teeth. This includes most chewing gums as well. Make sure that you avoid chewing gums as much as possible by replacing them with mouthwash and when you do use a chewing gum, make sure that it is a sugar-free one.

Drink plenty of water and avoid sugar-laden beverages – Keep your body hydrated – every single body cell, tissue, and organ, including the ones in your mouth will thank you for it.

Don’t skip your dental appointments – Check in regularly with your dentist to make sure that nothing funny is going on in your mouth.

Quit smoking – Smoking is one of the most unhealthy habits that there are. It endangers your whole body, including your teeth. Smoking is among the greatest risk factors for periodontal disease and dental caries. Stop this unhealthy habit of yours and exchange it for a new, healthy one.

Manage diabetes and other conditions that may have an impact on your teeth and gums – Diabetes has been found to play a risk factor for the occurrence of Periodontal disease already. Make sure that it does not put you at the same risk – manage your diabetes.


Most people have caries and although it’s a manageable problem, we should still do our best to prevent it. Lately, we witness the rise of products containing CPP-ACP complex which could be a good thing for our teeth. CPP-ACP work through remineralization, decrease the number of caries-causing bacteria and address other problems such as hypersensitivity of your teeth and lack of saliva.


[i] Dental caries (tooth decay) in adults (age 20 to 64), National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

[ii] Neuhaus KW, Lussi A. Casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) and its effect on dental hard tissues. Schweizer Monatsschrift zur Zahnmedizin 2009;119(2):110-6

[iii] Divyapriya GK, Yavagal PC, Veeresh DJ. Casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate in dentistry: An update. International Journal of Oral Health Sciences 2016 Jul;6(1):18-25. Doi: 10.4103/2231-6027.186660;year=2016;volume=6;issue=1;spage=18;epage=25;aulast=Divyapriya

[iv] Farooq I, Moheet IA, Imran Z, et al. A review of novel dental caries preventive material: casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) complex. King Saudi University Journal of Dental Sciences 2013 Jul;4(2):47-51. Doi: 10.1016/j.ksujds.2013.03.004

[v] Piekarz C, Ranjitkar S, Hunt D, McIntyre J. An in vitro assessment of the role of tooth mousse in preventing wine erosion. Australian Dental Journal 2008 Feb;53(1):22-5. Doi: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.2007.00003.x

[vi] Kariya S, Sato T, Sakaguchi Y, et al. Flouride effect on acid resistance capacity of CPP-ACP containing material. Abstract 2045. 82nd General Session of the IADR 2004, Honolulu, Hawaii


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