The formation of calcium (Ca) fluoride (CaF2) on bovine enamel blocks during clinically relevant treatment times using neutral fluoride (F) solutions (0.26 mol/l F) with and without 0.1 mol/l lactate was investigated. Uncoated and pellicle-coated blocks were evaluated for alkali-soluble (1 mol/l KOH, three consecutive 24-hour treatments) Ca, PO4, and F after treatment by the F solutions for 0, 5, 15, 30, and 60 min. There was an overall time-related increase in F recovery, while Ca tended to remain at baseline levels. Less F was recovered from the pellicle-coated blocks. The addition of lactate to the F treatment solution did not result in an overall increase in alkali-soluble F recovery, but did result in the formation of cuboidal shaped crystals which closely approached the morphology of pure CaF2. A 1:2 stoichiometric ratio Ca:2F (mol:mol) was not established based on chemical analyses. The ultrastructural and elemental composition of surface deposits on the samples, as determined using scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and energy-dispersive spectroscopy, established the presence of CaF2 after 24-hour F treatments; however, it was not possible to directly demonstrate the formation of CaF2 after clinically relevant treatment times.
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