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Pediatr Dent. 2002 May-Jun;24(3):204-6.

Topical antimicrobial therapy in the prevention of early childhood caries: a follow-up report.

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School of Dentistry, University of Puerto Rico Medical Center, San Juan, USA.



The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of antimicrobial therapy in the prevention of early childhood caries (ECC).


The study population consisted of 83 subjects (age: 12 to 19 months (x= 15.6); gender: 40 females and 43 males). Inclusion criteria included: (1) unremarkable medical history; (2) presence of 4 maxillary primary incisors (MPI) with no visible defects; (3) clinically caries free; (4) use of a nursing bottle at naptime and/or bedtime which contained a cariogenic substrate; (5) 2 consecutive ms positive cultures from pooled MPI plaque. The subjects were randomized into 2 groups. The 39 subjects in the experimental group and the 44 subjects in the control group were evaluated every 2 months during the study period. At each evaluation, the subjects had 10% povidone iodine (experimental group) or placebo (control group) applied to their dentition. Treatment failure was defined as the appearance of a white spot lesion(s) on any of the MPI during the study period.


Using the Kaplan-Meier procedure, the estimated percents (+/- SES) of participants to experience 12 months of disease-free survival were 91 +/- 5% for those receiving treatment and 54 +/- 9% for those in the control group. Via the log-rank test, the hazard of treatment failure is statistically significantly higher in the placebo group (log-rank statistic 10.28, two-sided P=0.0013).


These observations indicate that topical antimicrobial therapy increases disease-free survival in children at high risk for ECC.

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