Evaluation of Struthio camelus eggshell as an in vitro alternative to extracted human teeth in preliminary screening studies on dental erosion

Abubaker Qutieshat (Lead / Corresponding author), Andrew Graham Mason, Richard Graham Chadwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Objectives: This in vitro work investigates the potential of ostrich eggshell as a substitute for extracted human teeth in preliminary screening studies on dental erosion. Additionally, it aims to demonstrate the potential of ostrich eggshell compared to human enamel in evaluating the efficacy of a preventive agent in protecting against dental erosion, using an artificial mouth model.

Methods: The experiment utilized 96 erosion testing specimens from each substrate, human enamel, and ostrich eggshell. The specimens were subjected to six different experimental regimens of increasing erosive challenge, simulating the consumption of an acidic drink. The acidic drink was delivered at a consistent volume and duration range. Both artificially stimulated and unstimulated saliva flowed throughout the experimental regimens. Surface hardness was measured using a Through-Indenter Viewing hardness tester with a Vickers diamond, while surface profiling was done using a surface contacting profilometer with a diamond stylus. An automated chemistry analyzer system was used to detect calcium and phosphate ions.

Results: The study found that ostrich eggshell specimens demonstrated predictable surface loss, hardness drop, and ion loss due to the acidic challenge. Meanwhile, enamel appeared to fall short in terms of surface hardness predictability. The transient hardness loss phase, which manifests as an overlooked decrease in surface hardness despite significant ion and structural loss, may explain this phenomenon.

Conclusions: The experiment showed that assessing surface loss is essential in addition to hardness testing, particularly as certain experimental conditions may produce a false perception of tissue recovery despite the actual surface loss. By analyzing the response of ostrich eggshell specimens to erosive challenges, researchers were able to identify an “overlooked” reduction in hardness in enamel specimens. The differences in the structure, chemical composition, and biological response to erosion in the presence of artificial saliva between enamel and ostrich eggshell could explain their distinct behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-640
Number of pages11
JournalClinical and Experimental Dental Research
Issue number4
Early online date27 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • dental
  • eggshell
  • enamel
  • erosion


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