Objective: To determine the fluoride concentrations of commercial dentifrices marketed in West Africa. Design: In vitro measurement of the total fluoride concentration by liquid gas chromatography, and of the free fluoride concentration with a fluoride sensitive electrode. Setting: Collection of fluoride dentifrices in public markets and supermarkets in and around the capital of The Republic of The Gambia, Banjul, after a systematic search. Materials: All commercially available different brands sold in The Gambia and produced locally or in other African countries (Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa). Outcome measures: Total and free fluoride concentrations of dentifrices in parts per million. Results: Seven different dentifrices were detected with NaMFP as the predominant fluoride source. Four dentifrices showed a total fluoride concentration above 1,000 ppm F-. The products showed – in general — a lower free fluoride concentration. Only one product with NaF as fluoride supplement showed both total and free fluoride concentrations above 1,000 ppm F-. Four products contained calcium-based abrasive additives. Conclusion: The measurement of total and free fluoride concentrations of dentifrices available in The Gambia (West Africa) showed inhomogeneities. This was particularly verified where fluoride compounds were combined with calciumbased abrasives. If so, it is recommended that the total fluoride content should be measured by gas chromatography. Periodic quality control of dentifrices should be introduced in areas with an under-developed consumer-counselling infrastructure.
Keywords: Africa, dentifrice, fluorides, sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate