Abrasives may counteract the efficacy of anti-erosion toothpastes either due to physical effects or due to interaction with active agents. This study aimed to investigate whether the amount of abrasives is a determinant for the efficacy of Sn2+-containing toothpastes with or without chitosan additive. Enamel samples were eroded (0.50 wt% citric acid, pH 2.5; 6 × 2 min/day) on a shaking desk - 30/min in experiment 1 (E1) and 35/min in experiments 2 (E2) and 3 (E3) - and immersed in toothpaste slurries (2 × 2 min). Half of the samples were additionally brushed (15 s, load 200 g) within the immersion time. The toothpastes contained 0, 5, 10, 15, and 20% silica. In E1 and E2 the active ingredients were F- (700 ppm as amine fluoride, 700 ppm as NaF) and Sn2+ (3,500 ppm as SnCl2); in E3 chitosan (0.5%) was additionally added. The placebo contained 20% silica. Tissue loss was determined profilometrically. In E1, slurries completely inhibited tissue loss; distinct surface deposits occurred. With brushing, tissue loss significantly increased up to an abrasive content of 10%, but decreased significantly with higher amounts; 20% silica revealed similar values as the abrasive-free formulation. In E2, all slurries inhibited tissue loss distinctly irrespective of the amounts of abrasives. With brushing, a similar trend as in E1 was observed but with much less efficacy. The chitosan-containing formulations in E3 were much more effective; similar results as in E1 were found. In conclusion, the amount of abrasives had no effect when toothpastes were applied as slurries, but played an important role with brushing.

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