A new formulation for topical administration of drugs in the oral cavity has been developed using several film-forming and mucoadhesive polymers. The films have been evaluated in terms of swelling, mucoadhesion and organoleptic characteristics. The best film, containing polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) as film-forming polymer and carboxymethylcellulose sodium salt (NaCMC) as mucoadhesive polymer, was loaded with ibuprofen as a model compound and in vitro and in vivo release studies were performed. Statistical investigation of in vitro release revealed that the diffusion process was the main drug release mechanism and the Higuchi's model provided the best fit. In vivo studies showed the presence of ibuprofen in saliva (range 70-210 microg/ml) for 5 h and no irritation was observed. These mucoadhesive formulations offer many advantages in comparison to traditional treatments and can be proposed as a new therapeutic tool against dental and buccal diseases and disturbs.