While the clinical anticaries efficacy of fluoride toothpaste is now without question, our understanding of the relation of fluoride efficacy to brushing time and dentifrice quantity is limited. The aim of this in situ study was to determine how differences in brushing time and dentifrice quantity influence (i) fluoride distribution immediately after brushing, (ii) clearance of fluoride in saliva, (iii) enamel fluoride uptake (EFU) and (iv) enamel strengthening, via the increase in surface microhardness. The study compared brushing times of 30, 45, 60, 120 and 180 s with 1.5 g of dentifrice containing 1,100 microg/g fluoride as sodium fluoride. In addition, 60 s of brushing with 0.5 g dentifrice was evaluated. A longer brushing time progressively reduced retention of dentifrice in the brush, thereby increasing the amount delivered into the mouth. A longer brushing time also increased fluoride concentrations in saliva for at least 2 h after the conclusion of brushing, showing that increased contact time promoted fluoride retention in the oral cavity. There was a statistically significant positive linear relationship between brushing time and both enamel strengthening and EFU. Compared to 0.5 g dentifrice, brushing with 1.5 g dentifrice more than doubled the fluoride recovered in saliva after brushing and increased EFU. In conclusion, the results of this preliminary, short-term usage study suggest for the first time that both brushing time and dentifrice quantity may be important determinants both of fluoride retention in the oral cavity and consequent enamel remineralization.