Previous work showed that oral fluoride levels increased with increasing applied F dose for both mouthwashes and dentifrices. This study aimed to determine whether the above dependence was related to applied fluoride concentration or applied fluoride amount. Ten adults mouthrinsed with aqueous NaF solutions of 1–10 ml each of which contained 2.5 mg F, i. e. in the concentration range 250–2,500 ppm F. Subjects rinsed for 1 min and then spat out. Samples of mixed saliva were collected for 3 h afterwards, which were analysed for fluoride. Salivary fluoride clearance curves were obtained which could be fitted to a pharmacokinetic model involving processes ascribed to loss of fluoride from saliva by swallowing and to exchange of fluoride between saliva and an oral reservoir. Mean salivary fluoride concentrations increased significantly with increasing applied F concentration both within the first 3 h after single use and up to at least 18 h after regular daily use. These findings suggest that applied F concentration is a more important factor than applied F amount per se in determining the elevation of oral fluoride levels following topical fluoride use. This implies that application of a given F dose, in a smaller volume at higher concentration than the current norm, may increase efficacy without increasing the risk of adverse effects.

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