Fluoride bioavailability in saliva and plaque.
ABSTRACT Different fluoride formulations may have different effects on caries prevention. It was the aim of this clinical study to assess the fluoride content, provided by NaF compared to amine fluoride, in saliva and plaque.
Eight trained volunteers brushed their teeth in the morning for 3 minutes with either NaF or amine fluoride, and saliva and 3-day-plaque-regrowth was collected at 5 time intervals during 6 hours after tooth brushing. The amount of collected saliva and plaque was measured, and the fluoride content was analysed using a fluoride sensitive electrode. All subjects repeated all study cycles 5 times, and 3 cycles per subject underwent statistical analysis using the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test.
Immediately after brushing the fluoride concentration in saliva increased rapidly and dropped to the baseline level after 360 minutes. No difference was found between NaF and amine fluoride. All plaque fluoride levels were elevated after 30 minutes until 120 minutes after tooth brushing, and decreasing after 360 minutes to baseline. According to the highly individual profile of fluoride in saliva and plaque, both levels of bioavailability correlated for the first 30 minutes, and the fluoride content of saliva and plaque was back to baseline after 6 hours.
Fluoride levels in saliva and plaque are interindividually highly variable. However, no significant difference in bioavailability between NaF and amine fluoride, in saliva, or in plaque was found.
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The aim was to determine the fluoride concentration in saliva after intake of a dinner meal prepared with fluoridated salt. The investigation had a randomized cross-over design, and 10 healthy adolescents with natural fluoride content (1.06 ppm) in their drinking water participated after informed consent. After a run-in week, the subjects were served a standardized dinner of spaghetti with minced meat sauce prepared with either fluoridated salt (test arm) or non-fluoridated salt (control arm). The fluoride concentration of the test salt was 250 ppm. Samples of stimulated whole saliva was collected at baseline, directly after eating (0 min) and then after 10, 30 and 180 min. After a 1-week wash-out period, the experimental procedure was repeated with the opposite salt. Fluoride concentration in saliva was measured with a fluoride-specific electrode and the post-ingestion levels were compared with baseline using repeated-measures ANOVA. The mean baseline concentrations were 10.9 and 8.0 microg/l in the test and control arms, respectively. Immediately after the intake, the mean fluoride values increased significantly to 81.6 microg/l in the test arm and to 31.5 microg/l in the control arm (p<0.05). The fluoride levels remained elevated (p<0.05) for 30 min after ingestion of the test meal but not following the control meal. In conclusion, consumption of a dinner meal prepared with fluoridated salt increased the salivary fluoride levels for about 30 min.Caries Research 02/2006; 40(2):158-62. · 2.51 Impact Factor
Article: Fluoride in the oral environment.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: A predominant part of the cariostatic activity of fluoride is a function of its concentration in the fluid environment of the teeth. The fluoride exposure results in a slightly elevated steady-state level of fluoride in the oral fluids, primarily in saliva and plaque fluid. So far, however, little is known about the intra-oral fluoride concentration necessary to achieve a cariostatic effect at the site of action. Following fluoride intake, the fluoride remaining in the oral cavity is diluted by the saliva pool. The remaining fluoride may be found in several compartments in the oral cavity. It may be ionized in saliva, ionized in plaque (plaque fluid), bound in plaque, bound as calcium fluoride, bound to enamel, and bound to soft tissues. Fluoride is also distributed to the oral tissues and into the dental plaque by diffusion. It is well established that plaque, after fluoride exposure, becomes a fluoride reservoir which stores for some time and releases fluoride. The present review gives an insight into the important parameters that determine the disposition and fate of fluoride in the oral environment. To achieve in-depth understanding, and hence formulation of the optimal fluoride therapy, more information is needed to consolidate our understanding of the distribution, retention, and elimination of fluoride in the oral cavity. Such knowledge will form a better basis for providing our patients with more effective dental fluoride products and regimens.Acta Odontologica Scandinavica 01/2000; 57(6):330-3. · 1.36 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The fluoride concentration in whole saliva and the effect of variations in salivary flow rate were studied in 5 volunteers after use of a chewing gum (Fluomin®) containing 0.25 mg fluoride as sodium fluoride. Basal fluoride concentration during 2 consecutive days ranged between 0.3 and 1.1 μmol/l. The salivary fluoride clearance was studied after chewing one piece of the gum. The clearance of fluoride showed three phases in the decline of the curve. The effect of multiple dosing of the fluoride gum was studied for 7 days, one piece of gum was chewed every 2nd hour during the day and whole saliva was sampled frequently. The subjects with a stimulated salivary flow rate ranging between 0.9 and 2.5 ml/min had a mean steady-state level of fluoride in the saliva ranging from 0.7 to 1.6 μmol/l. This was in contrast to the subjects with low salivary flow rate ranging between 0.4 and 0.6 ml/min, where the fluoride concentration ranged from 4.7 to 19.2 μmol/l. In a separate study, the fluoride concentration in plasma in 4 subjects was studied for 24 h following repeated use of 0.5 mg fluoride as two pieces of the gum 10 times a day. The plasma levels found ranged from 1 to 3 μmol/l.Copyright © 1987 S. Karger AG, BaselCaries Research 02/1987; 21(5):393-401. · 2.51 Impact Factor
RESEARCH ARTICLEOpen Access
Fluoride bioavailability in saliva and plaque
Ella A Naumova†, Phillip Kuehnl†, Philipp Hertenstein†, Ljubisa Markovic†, Rainer A Jordan†, Peter Gaengler†and
Wolfgang H Arnold*†
Background: Different fluoride formulations may have different effects on caries prevention. It was the aim of this
clinical study to assess the fluoride content, provided by NaF compared to amine fluoride, in saliva and plaque.
Methods: Eight trained volunteers brushed their teeth in the morning for 3 minutes with either NaF or amine
fluoride, and saliva and 3-day-plaque-regrowth was collected at 5 time intervals during 6 hours after tooth
brushing. The amount of collected saliva and plaque was measured, and the fluoride content was analysed using a
fluoride sensitive electrode. All subjects repeated all study cycles 5 times, and 3 cycles per subject underwent
statistical analysis using the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test.
Results: Immediately after brushing the fluoride concentration in saliva increased rapidly and dropped to the
baseline level after 360 minutes. No difference was found between NaF and amine fluoride. All plaque fluoride
levels were elevated after 30 minutes until 120 minutes after tooth brushing, and decreasing after 360 minutes to
baseline. According to the highly individual profile of fluoride in saliva and plaque, both levels of bioavailability
correlated for the first 30 minutes, and the fluoride content of saliva and plaque was back to baseline after 6 hours.
Conclusions: Fluoride levels in saliva and plaque are interindividually highly variable. However, no significant
difference in bioavailability between NaF and amine fluoride, in saliva, or in plaque was found.
Already two decades ago it has been postulated that
site-specific aspects of salivary fluoride clearance may
have important implications for the site-specificity of
oral diseases . It is now well known that at least three
factors are influencing this site-specificity of oral patho-
biology: the different local composition and pathogeni-
city of oral biofilms (local microbiome), the site-specific
host response towards bacterial phylotypes as commen-
sals or pathogens (local immunity), and finally, the indi-
vidual variability of salivary and plaque clearance of
Whereas the first two factors are exclusively in the
focus of basic research, the kinetics of fluoride in oral
fluids are rather well documented. This is the reason why
clinical recommendations for the treatment of incipient
caries lesions or for the stagnation of lesions can be con-
cluded. Therefore, the bioavailability of fluoride in saliva,
and consequently in plaque fluid plays a crucial role in
preventing a net mineral deficit in enamel, cementum
and dentin due to caries challenge.
Bioavailability of fluoride is dependent upon various fac-
tors such as fluoride administration [2-7], fluoride formu-
lation, and salivary secretion rate [8-11]. Fluoride
bioavailability in plaque may also be influenced by the
compounds of the administered fluoride source. Recently
it has been demonstrated, that e. g. sodium lauryl sulphate
changes the structure of plaque biofilms which may have
an effect on fluoride uptake or release . Several studies
have demonstrated, that salivary fluoride concentration
increases dramatically after fluoride administration either
after tooth brushing or mouth rinsing with fluoridated
products, but is back to the baseline level two hours after
fluoride administration [4,9,13,14].
Fluoride concentration in saliva is the source for the
fluoride delivery to dental plaque. Recently it has been
demonstrated that elevated fluoride products like denti-
frices with 5000 ppm NaF or amine fluoride [10,15] or
oral hygiene tablets directly dissolved in saliva with 4350
ppm NaF enhance remineralization of advanced enamel
lesions  and result in increased bioavailability of
fluoride in saliva . Application of high concentrations
* Correspondence: Wolfgang.email@example.com
† Contributed equally
Faculty of Health, Department of Dentistry, University of Witten/Herdecke,
Alfred Herrhausenstrasse 50, 58448 Witten, Germany
Naumova et al. BMC Oral Health 2012, 12:3
© 2012 Naumova et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
of fluoride leads to the formation of a CaF2layer on the
enamel surface. It has been reported that this CaF2layer
dissolves rapidly and releases bioavailable fluoride .
No calcium-fluoride-like deposits were detected in
plaque shortly after a NaF mouth rinse , and the
authors concluded that the inability to form more per-
sistent CaF2deposits may account for the rapid loss of
fluoride in plaque after the use of topical fluoride
agents. Concerning the plaque clearance of fluoride
representing consequently the F-bioavailability over the
day and night time rather controversial results have
been reported: An experimental ex-vivo study demon-
strated a rapid and very substantial uptake of fluoride by
plaque after exposure to 1000 ppm NaF immersion ,
whereas from an in-vivo study it was concluded that ele-
vated salivary fluoride concentrations were not reflected
in dental plaque, measured 6 h after brushing (1400
ppm fluoride) and rinsing (250 ppm fluoride) . Other
data demonstrated after one hour post brushing (1074
ppm fluoride) a rapid fluoride uptake and 12 hours later
a clearance back to the placebo levels . More
detailed fluoride kinetics data in dental plaque are
As fluoride binding to the plaque reservoirs and the
release from the reservoir is rather complex, the source
of the fluoride may play an important role. It is well
known that different fluoride formulations lead to differ-
ent salivary fluoride concentrations after tooth brushing
. NaF is instantly dissociating in saliva. Sodium
monofluorphsphate (NaMFP) requires hydrolysis to
release free fluoride ions , and amine fluoride may
bind to organic constituents in saliva and plaque and
releases fluoride slower than the other two. Higher
fluoride concentrations may result in the formation of a
CaF2layer on the enamel surface which also may serve
as fluoride reservoir . The different dissolution prop-
erties may lead to different fluoride concentrations in
plaque, consequently affecting the caries protective
effect of plaque fluoride content.
It was, therefore, the aim of the present investigation
to follow up the fluoride bioavailability in whole saliva
and in individual plaque samples from baseline immedi-
ately after tooth brushing and up to 360 minutes, to
compare a NaF formulation dissolved directly in saliva
with an amine fluoride dentifrice formulation. The null
hypothesis that there is no difference in the fluoride
bioavailability after NaF or amine fluoride application
A power analysis with a power of 0.8 at a significance level
of p = 0.05 prior to the investigation resulted in a mini-
mum of 6 individuals and three samples per individual to
gain reliable data. The data for the power analysis relayed
on data obtained in a previous study . Eight healthy
subjects participated in this crossover study (7 male and 1
female subject, 24 - 65 years of age). They consented after
verbal and written information on the aim and perfor-
mance of the investigation and also received written
instructions and a schedule. Participants were further
asked to avoid fluoride-rich food products such as tea, fish
and specified mineral water during the period but had no
restriction concerning drinking water. All test subjects
were residents in the area with ≈ 0.2 ppm fluoride in the
drinking water and normally used fluoride containing den-
tifrices twice daily. The participants had good oral health.
Prior to the inclusion into the study salivary flow rate was
determined and only normal secretors (0.25 - 1.0 ml/min)
were included. The study protocol was approved by the
Ethical Committee of the University of Witten/Herdecke,
Germany (permission 21/2008).
NaF was administered as oral hygiene tablets DENT-
TABS®(Innovative Zahnpflegegesellschaft mbH, Berlin,
Germany) containing 1450 ppm fluoride per 1.0 g tablet.
The tablet had to be chewed before tooth brushing, and
the teeth were brushed with a wet tooth brush. Amine
fluoride was administered as dentifrice ELMEX®(Gaba,
Lörrach, Germany) containing 1400 ppm fluoride from
Before the experiments all participants received profes-
sional dental cleaning. Then they abstained from any oral
hygiene, and plaque was grown for three days prior to the
experiments. All participants brushed their teeth in the
lower jaw in the morning for 3 minutes with either NaF or
amine fluoride formulations. Whole saliva and plaque was
collected at 5 time intervals for 6 hours. Immediately
before brushing (T0) and 3 (T1), 30 (T2), 120 (T3) and
360 (T4) minutes after tooth brushing saliva was collected
by spitting into plastic tubes for 3 minutes. Plaque was
collected from the upper jaw teeth at the same time inter-
vals with a sterile curette from the approximal sites of
molars and premolars strictly from one given site. There-
fore, the plaque samples were not pooled. These 5 plaque
samples represented the 3-day plaque regrowth on 3 inter-
proximal buccal sites (teeth 14 - 17) and 2 interproximal
palatinal sites (teeth 14 - 16).
All subjects repeated every cycle 4 times with both for-
mulations (cross over). Individual cycles with plaque
amount less than 1 mg per sample were excluded and
consequently repeated. The plaque weight used was
between 1 mg and 5.4 mg. The washout period between
each cycle was one week. During the washout period the
Naumova et al. BMC Oral Health 2012, 12:3
Page 2 of 6
subjects were allowed to perform their individual oral
After removal of plaque the weight was determined with a
precision balance and the plaque samples were diluted in
500 μl TISAB III (Thermo Electron, Beverly, MA, USA).
To compare plaque and saliva values whole saliva samples
were weighted, and then centrifuged (B Centrifuge, Beck-
man Instruments Inc., Germany) for 10 min at 6000 rpm
in micro- centrifuge tubes. An aliquot of 1 ml was taken
and mixed with 1 ml of a TISAB II buffer solution
(Thermo Electron, Beverly, MA, USA). For fluoride ion
distribution during the measurement a magnetic stick stir-
rer (size 2 × 5 mm) was used. The salivary fluoride content
was analyzed using a fluoride-sensitive electrode (96-09
Orion, Thermo Electron, Beverly, MA, USA). All measure-
ments were repeated three times and the mean of the
measurements was calculated and used for further statisti-
For the measurement of the fluoride content the follow-
ing analytical techniques were used: direct calibration and
incremental techniques (the method of known addition
for low ionic strength samples with a fluoride concentra-
tion of less then 0.38 ppm) . Direct calibration was
performed in a series of prepared standards of 0.4, 4.0, 40
and 400 ppm fluoride.
The obtained data were processed with the Statistical
Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 15.0, Chicago, III.,
USA). The post-brushing values at the different time inter-
vals were compared with baseline levels using the non-
parametric singn test for related variables. As four tests
have been applied on the data for the time intervals, the
Bonferroni correction was applied and resulted in a
p-value of p < 0.0125 for those tests. For comparison of
the total amount of fluoride in saliva and plaque after NaF
or Amine fluoride administration, curves were plotted for
every test person for all time intervals and the area under
curve was calculated. These data were then compared
with the non parametric Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney-Test
for independent variables. The level of significance for the
comparison between NaF and Amine fluoride was 0.05.
The baseline fluoride content of saliva ranged in the 8
cycles per subject, in a total of 64 measurements, from
0.02 ppm to 1.93 ppm. The mean fluoride content was
0.41 ppm ± 0.38 ppm for both study arms, and the
baseline levels for NaF and amine fluoride were statisti-
cally not different (Table 1). The salivary fluoride con-
centration for the NaF study arm immediately after
brushing was higher compared to amine fluoride (p =
0.017). The range of the fluoride content was 100.0 to
264.0 ppm for Na F and 70.0 to 183.0 ppm for amine
fluoride. Thirty minutes after brushing the fluoride con-
centration was still elevated about 10 fold compared to
the baseline values, but not significantly (p = 0.73). The
range for the NaF arm was 0.4 to 9.3 ppm for NaF and
0.3 to 8.1 ppm for amine fluoride Two hours after
brushing the fluoride content in saliva was back to base-
line and the rather high interindividual and intraindivi-
dual range was demonstrated also for the 6 hours
measurements after tooth brushing in both study arms
(Figure 1). Comparison of the total salivary fluoride con-
tent from baseline until 6 hours after tooth brushing
demonstrated a significantly higher fluoride in saliva for
NaF (p < 0.001) (Figure 2).
The baseline individual plaque fluoride content ranged
from 3.9 to 676 ppm, and the mean for all 8 subjects was
147.5 ± 171.1 ppm. All baseline levels of interproximal
plaque samples were statistically not different in both
study arms (Table 2). Immediately after brushing the
fluoride content in plaque did not increase, and the indi-
vidual range from subject to subject and from cycle to
cycle was as high as the baseline data.
The fluoride content in plaque increased 30 minutes
after tooth brushing, but the increase was not significant
(p = 0.152). The range of the NaF arm was 3 to 1063 ppm,
and for the amine fluoride arm was 24.3 to 1201 ppm
fluoride. Between 30 minutes and 2 hours the fluoride
content within plaque decreased slightly and after 6 hours
the fluoride content in plaque was close to the baseline
level with no significant differences (Figure 3). Six hours
after tooth brushing the mean fluoride content in plaque
and the high intraindividual and interindividual range
represented the baseline levels with no statistical differ-
ences (Figure 4)
Table 1 Salivary fluoride content (in ppm) after tooth brushing with NaF or amine fluoride
Baseline 3 minutes30 minutes120 minutes360 minutes
Mean STDp MeanSTDpMeanSTDpMeanSTDpMeanSTDp
Amine fluoride0.390.35 p =
120.725.81p = 0.0172.31.9p = 0.730.310.22p = 0.510.240.19p = 0.03
Naumova et al. BMC Oral Health 2012, 12:3
Page 3 of 6
Figure 1 Fluoride concentration in saliva. Fluoride concentration
in saliva at baseline, 30, 120 and 360 minutes after tooth brushing.
The boxplots demonstrate the high interindividual variability
demonstrated by the extend of the whiskers and the extremes of
the salivary fluoride content.
Figure 2 Total amount of fluoride in saliva. The boxplot graphic
of the total amount of fluoride over the whole measured time
period demonstrates a significantly higher salivary fluoride content
after NaF administration which can be seen by the higher value of
the median in the NaF group.
Table 2 Fluoride content (in ppm) in plaque after tooth brushing with NaF of amine fluoride
Baseline3 minutes30 minutes120 minutes 360 minutes
MeanSTDp MeanSTDp MeanSTDp MeanSTDp MeanSTDp
Amine fluoride147.5171.1 p =
128.5139.3 p = 0.5 192.6209.6 p = 0.56177.7 154.8p = 0.74 130.498.08 p = 0.39
NaF161217.9170.4 161.2220.2 217.9216.1 438.5164.3 186.04
Figure 3 Fluoride content in plaque. Fluoride content in plaque
after brushing with NaF or amine fluoride. The fluoride content in
plaque is increasing 30 and 120 minutes after using NaF or amine
fluoride and dropping to baseline level after 360 minutes. The
differences are not significant.
Figure 4 Variability of fluoride content in plaque. The boxplot
graphic demonstrated the high interinidividual variability of plaque
fluoride content after administration of NaF or amine fluoride
demonstrated by the extend of the whiskers and the extremes.
There is not significant difference between the different time
intervals and between NaF and amine fluoride.
Naumova et al. BMC Oral Health 2012, 12:3
Page 4 of 6
Several studies have shown that after fluoride administra-
tion, either with dentifrice or mouth rinse, salivary fluoride
concentration increases shortly after administration and
drops back to the baseline level after 3 to 6 hours
[8-11,23]. It is well known that fluoride penetrates into
plaque by diffusion , and thus becomes a fluoride
reservoir which stores fluoride for some time and releases
fluoride [18,24]. Plaque fluoride content depends mainly
upon the time of exposure to fluoride [20,25,26] and the
fluoride formulation [11,21,27,28].
The results of the present study demonstrated a peak
increase of salivary fluoride concentration immediately
after brushing and lasting for at least 30 min. This is about
the time for fluoride diffusion into the plaque biofilm ,
and consequently the plaque fluoride concentration is ele-
vated 30 min after brushing. Both formulations, NaF and
amine fluoride, demonstrated the same trend, whereas the
fluoride concentration after NaF administration was
slightly higher. These results are confirmed by the assess-
ment of penetration of fluoride into natural biofilms. From
the literature it is known that the fluoride uptake into pla-
que is restricted after short term exposure up to 120 sec,
whereas exposure for 30 min. demonstrated significantly
higher concentrations even in deep plaque layers towards
the enamel surface . The plaque fluoride content is of
great importance, since dental plaque bacteria are respon-
sible for causing caries. Fluoride is enhancing reminarali-
zation of the enamel surface. The fluoride content in
dental plaque may also be dependent upon the fluoride
All 8 subjects exhibited a rather normal distribution of
fluoride concentration at baseline and still 2.5 to 10 fold
increase after 30 min. throughout the two study arms
there are subjects with a rather constant fluoride bioa-
vailability in plaque (from baseline to increase after 30
min. and back to baseline after 360 min.) on the one
hand, and, on the other hand subjects with very variable
fluoride concentrations in plaque (as well as at baseline,
increase after 30 min. as after 360 min.). This clinical
study clearly demonstrated high intraindividual and
interindividual as well as site-specific differences in the
salivary and plaque fluoride bioavailability. According to
the research protocol and considering the limitations of
this study, no differences between NaF and amine fluor-
ide were observed for fluoride concentrations in saliva
and plaque. Thus the null hypothesis has been con-
firmed. The high interindividual variability has been
demonstrated before [9,29] and may be a reason for the
non significant differences in the fluoride content
between NaF and amine fluoride.
There are obviously many factors contributing to the
oral fluoride kinetics in an open organ system like the
oral cavity. Saliva secretion and content plays a major
role for bioavailability of fluoride [9,29]. But there are
other factors such as oral hygiene behaviour, brushing
time and frequency, fluoride formulation and bioavail-
ability of acting ions, dietary tradition and alimentary
fluoride sources and seemingly unknown factors which
contribute to the efficiency of bio available fluoride. To
enlighten the complex interplay between saliva, plaque
and fluoride bioavailability further in vivo and in vitro
studies experimental have to be carried out.
The authors would like to thank Mrs. Susanne Haussmann for her technical
EAN did the planning of the project and supervision; PK was responsible for
the plaque collection and fluoride measurement in the plaque samples; PH
was responsible for saliva collection and fluoride measurement in saliva: LM
provided the patients for plaque and saliva collection; RAJ also provided
patients for plaque and saliva collection; PG was advisor of the project; WHA
wrote manuscript and did the statistical calculation. All authors read and
approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Received: 22 November 2010 Accepted: 9 January 2012
Published: 9 January 2012
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The pre-publication history for this paper can be accessed here:
Cite this article as: Naumova et al.: Fluoride bioavailability in saliva and
plaque. BMC Oral Health 2012 12:3.
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