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Adv Dent Res. 2012 Sep;24(2):32-5. doi: 10.1177/0022034512449464.

Caries clinical trial methods for the assessment of oral care products in the 21st century.

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  • 1Colgate-Palmolive Company, Piscataway, NJ, USA.

Erratum in

  • Adv Dent Res. 2013 Nov;25(1):49. Goma, J [corrected to Gomez, J].


Traditionally, caries clinical trials of oral care products have focused on the prevention of caries in children and adolescents at the "cavitation" level. Because of a general reduction in caries incidence and the use of positive control comparators, studies have grown both in size and duration to improve statistical power. Currently, they tend to be of 2 to 3 years' duration, with up to 2,000 high-risk individuals per group. During the past decade, there has been a shift in emphasis from a restorative approach to the treatment of dental caries to a therapeutic approach focused on the remineralization of early caries lesions. However, caries clinical trials of oral care products have not often reflected this paradigm change. This manuscript reviews alternative caries clinical trial methods for oral care products. It is concluded that methods focused on the detection and monitoring of enamel caries and root caries, by visual approaches such as ICDAS and instrumental methods such as QLF, Diagnodent, and Electrical Caries Monitors, provide viable alternatives to traditional methods. In particular, such approaches more accurately reflect the modes of action of many therapeutic agents and formulations and may reduce the cost and duration of product innovation.

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