Incorporation of Fluoride into Human Teeth after Immersion in Fluoride-Containing Solutions
Toothpastes and mouth rinses contain fluoride as a protective agent against caries. The aim of this study was to determine the degree of fluoride-uptake by human tooth mineral during immersion into fluoride-containing aqueous solutions as different pH. Human teeth were immersed in fluoride-containing solutions to assess the extent of fluoride incorporation into tooth enamel. A total of 16 extracted teeth from 11 patients were immersed at 37 °C for one minute into aqueous fluoride solutions (potassium fluoride; KF) containing either 250 ppm or 18,998 ppm fluoride (1-molar). Fluoride was dissolved either in pure water (neutral pH) or in a citrate buffer (pH 4.6 to 4.7). The elemental surface composition of each tooth was studied by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy in combination with scanning electron microscopy and X-ray powder diffraction. The as-received teeth contained 0.17 ± 0.16 wt% fluoride on average. There was no significant increase in the fluoride content after immersion in 250 ppm fluoride solution at neutral or acidic pH values. In contrast, a treatment with a 1-molar fluoride solution led to significantly increased fluoride concentrations by 0.68 wt% in water and 9.06 wt% at pH 4.7. Although such fluoride concentrations are far above those used in mouth rinses or toothpastes, this indicates that fluoride can indeed enter the tooth surface, especially at a low pH where a dynamic dissolution-reprecipitation process may occur. However, precipitations of calcium fluoride (globuli) were detected in no cases.