Surface Microhardness Changes, Enamel Fluoride Uptake, and Fluoride Availability From Commercial Toothpastes

J Clin Dent. 2006;17(4):94-9.


Objective: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the ability of a new fluoride-containing dentifrice to protect surface-softened enamel against further erosive challenges in an in vitro cycling model, and to relate any effects to enamel fluoride uptake (EFU) and free fluoride.

Methodology: Human enamel specimens were subjected to a daily cycling regimen comprising: three two-minute treatments; five two-minute challenges using 1% citric acid pH 3.8; and remineralization in a mixture of human saliva and mucin-containing artificial saliva. Surface microhardness (SMH) was measured at baseline, 10, and 20 days, and the fluoride content of biopsied specimens determined at 20 days. EFU studies were based on method #40 described in the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing procedures. Free-fluoride availability was determined from slurries of one part toothpaste plus three parts deionized water.

Results: SMH showed that a 1150 ppm NaF test dentifrice protected enamel specimens greater than Crest Cavity Protection (1100 ppm NaF) and a fluoride-free placebo at both 10 days and 20 days (p < 0.05). The fluoride content of specimens treated with this prototype was higher than either Crest or the placebo. SMH for a 1450 ppm NaF test dentifrice was greater than for Elmex Sensitive (1450 ppm amine F) and placebo at 10 days, while both products were greater than the placebo at 20 days. The fluoride content of specimens treated with this test dentifrice was higher than Elmex Sensitive, which was higher than placebo. The fluoride uptake seen in the cycling model correlated for the NaF dentifrices with a standard EFU procedure. Different EFU results for a series of commercial dentifrices demonstrated that EFU is not necessarily a function of free-fluoride availability.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that fluoride dentifrices can increase the protection of enamel against an erosive challenge in vitro, and that the increased protection correlated with fluoride uptake. The fluoride uptake seen in the cycling model correlated with a standard FDA EFU procedure for the NaF dentifrices. The present studies demonstrate the importance of formulation effects on driving performance in in vitro models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cariostatic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dental Enamel / chemistry
  • Dental Enamel / drug effects*
  • Fluorides / pharmacology*
  • Hardness
  • Humans
  • Surface Properties
  • Tooth Demineralization / prevention & control
  • Tooth Erosion / prevention & control
  • Tooth Remineralization / methods
  • Toothpastes / chemistry*
  • Toothpastes / pharmacology


  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Toothpastes
  • Fluorides