Fluoride is the only extensively clinically proven means of reducing dental caries. Despite a large body of epidemiological data on the effectiveness of fluoride, delivered in the form of dentifrices, mouthrinses, drinking water, etc., the precise mode of action of fluoride is not completely understood. The purpose of this paper is to report an investigation of the link between oral fluoride levels and applied fluoride dose from dentifrices. Human salivary fluoride clearance studies and equilibrium baseline studies of fluoride in saliva and plaque have been carried out with dentifrices which contained 1,000, 1,500 and 2,500 μg fluoride per gram as sodium monofluorophosphate. After a single brushing with a fluoride dentifrice, salivary fluoride decreased in two distinct phases: an initial rapid phase which lasted for 40–80 min, depending on the individual, and a second slow phase lasting for several hours. The latter phase is believed to be due to fluoride released from an oral fluoride reservoir. During regular repeated use of the test dentifrices, the equilibrium baseline fluoride concentration, attained in both saliva and plaque between one application and the next, increased significantly compared with placebo values. Such elevated baseline fluoride concentrations also increased with increasing Na2FPO3 content of the dentifrices. The present work supports the concept that labile fluoride, stored in an oral fluoride reservoir at the time of treatment application, may maintain a prolonged protective effect against dental caries.

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