SANGI first encountered hydroxyapatite on acquiring a patent from the US National Space and Aeronautics Authority (NASA) in the 1970s1. NASA was seeking ways to replace mineral lost from the teeth and bones of astronauts in a gravity-free environment. It proposed using a precursor substance, brushite, to create new hydroxyapatite, the mineral of the teeth. SANGI took this idea one step further and proposed supplying hydroxyapatite itself, directly in toothpaste, to replenish tooth mineral with everyday use .

Hydroxyapatite was hard to obtain, so SANGI hired its first young scientists and synthesis of this remarkable substance began. Researchers from Japan's Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Hokkaido University and Gifu (now Asahi) University carried out in vitro remineralization and early plaque control testing, and a toothpaste manufacturer (SANGI's manufacturer to this day, Nippon Zettoc Co., Ltd.) succeeded with some difficulty in incorporating it in toothpaste. The manufacturers found SANGI's ingredient behaved quite differently from other calcium phosphates they had previously worked with. The result was the world's first hydroxyapatite-containing toothpaste APADENT, launched in 1980, followed by a second brand, APAGARD, in 1985.

SANGI's toothpastes were expensive, and sales remained modest until 1993, when on the basis of continuing in vitro research and field trials carried out in Japanese primary schools over a number of years, SANGI's ingredient was officially recognized as an anti-caries agent and designated 'Medical Hydroxyapatite' ('<mHAP>') in Japan.2 The impact of government approval was dramatic, and by 2020 cumulative shipments had reached more than 150 million 120g-equivalent tubes. Following SANGI's lead, hydroxyapatite toothpastes began emerging in South Korea in the 1990s, and the first examples in Europe, Henkel KGaA's Theramed Sensitiv and Vademecum Sensibilit? and Coswell SpA's Biorepair, appeared around 2005. Today oral care products containing hydroxyapatite in some form (including micron-sized and abrasive variants) number more than 200 brands in over 70 countries worldwide. 

2. Japanese Ministry of Health Quasi-drug Manufacturing Approval No. 05D-0235, 9.2.1993
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