The relationship among the iodide permeability (Ip) test, the surface microhardness (SMH) test, and enamel demineralization chemically analyzed as mineral loss was investigated using bovine enamel blocks. Demineralization periods of 0 (control) and 5, 15, 30, and 45 min using 0.05 mol/l lactate (pH 4.75) were chosen to approximate the acid challenge occurring during the intraoral enamel demineralization test. Mineral loss (Ca and PO4) was found to be directly proportional to dissolution time (r = 0.95). Changes (Δ) in Ip and SMH each increased linearly over time (r = 0.58 and 0.64, respectively) and were similarly related to mineral loss (r = 0.60 and 0.65, respectively). The correlation between ΔIp and ΔSMH was 0.55. When longer demineralization periods (60, 120, and 240 min) were included, the correlation between ΔIp and ΔSMH was 0.68. We conclude that both the Ip test and the SMH test can be used as measures of the early stages of enamel dissolution.

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