• enamel;
  • fluoride;
  • erosion;
  • prevention;
  • oral hygiene products;
  • toothpaste

summary Fluoride is known to reduce enamel solubility during the caries process. The aim of this investigation was to determine whether fluoride preparations affect erosion attributed to citric acid and citric acid-based soft drinks. Flat enamel specimens embedded in epoxy resin were prepared from caries free, human third molar teeth extracted from patients aged 18–35 years. Specimens were polished to have a profile within a tolerance of ±0·3 μm measured on a profilometer. Specimens were taped to leave a 2 mm window of exposed enamel. Groups of specimens were exposed to citric acid and soft drinks with and without the addition of sodium fluoride or exposed to the same solutions after pre-treatment with fluoride products. Enamel loss was measured by profilometer after 10, 20 and 30 min of acid exposure. The different acidic solutions varied significantly in the amount of erosion produced both with and without the addition of fluoride. In addition, the different fluoride products differed significantly in the protective effect afforded. Both fluoride application methods reduced in mean terms, enamel erosion at all time points and by all acidic solutions. The majority of differences were <25% and as the study was powered to show differences as significant at or above this level few reached statistical significance. Fluoride applied to enamel either in acidic solutions or as a pre-treatment, reduces enamel erosion; however, the actual clinical benefit appears low. More studies are required, including investigations in situ.