This study assessed the effects of pregnancy and lactation on the morphology of the dentine tubules and external enamel surface of rat incisor teeth using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with an energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) system. Twenty-four female Wistar rats were divided into three groups; group A rats were at the end of pregnancy, group B rats were in the post-lactation period and group C rats, the control group, were unmated. The outer enamel surface and openings of the dentine tubules at the neck regions of the incisors were observed under the SEM and photographed. Examination of the incisor teeth of pregnant and post-lactation rats revealed scratches on the enamel surface. There were few eroded areas and slight changes and the dentine tubules of the pregnant group were fully or partially occluded on the entire surface of the enamel in the lactating rats. Almost all dentine tubules of the rats in this group were open. During the study, EDX analysis of calcium, phosphate and magnesium was also performed at 20 kV and 0 degree tilt. The results of EDX analyses of magnesium were significantly lower in the pregnant group compared with the lactation and control groups for the dentine in the neck region (p<0.05). The calcium values increased in the lactation group compared with those of the rats in the other two groups (p<0.05). These results might indicate that changes during pregnancy and lactation affect the content and morphology of mineralized dental hard tissue.
2009 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science