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J Clin Periodontol. 1991 May;18(5):281-6.

Evaluation of stannous fluoride and chlorhexidine sprays on plaque and gingivitis in handicapped children.

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Department of Community Dentistry, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of twice-daily oral sprays of 2 ml chlorhexidine (0.2%) and 2 ml stannous fluoride (0.2%) as the sole oral hygiene measure on plaque and gingivitis in handicapped children. 52 institutionalized mentally handicapped individuals (aged 10-26 years) were divided into 4 groups to participate in a 9-week, double-blind, randomized clinically controlled trial, which included a cross-over. For the first 3 weeks, groups 3 and 2 had their mouths sprayed with chlorhexidine and stannous fluoride, respectively. Following a 3-week wash-out interval, groups 1 and 4 were sprayed with chlorhexidine and stannous fluoride, respectively. The alternate groups received a placebo, water. Plaque (PI) and gingival indices (GI) were recorded. Subgingival plaque samples were collected and counts of spirochaetes, motile rods and cocci were taken using darkfield microscopy. By the 9th week of trial, the PI and GI were reduced by 48% and 52% for the stannous fluoride group. In the chlorhexidine group, reductions of 75% (PI) and 78% (GI) were achieved. Pair-wise comparisons of placebo, stannous fluoride and chlorhexidine using the U-test of Mann-Whitney revealed significant (p less than 0.05) differences for both PI and GI scores in the placebo/stannous fluoride and placebo/chlorhexidine pair by the 9th week of the trial. In the stannous fluoride/chlorhexidine pair, only the PI was significantly reduced for those on chlorhexidine. Coccoid cells were more dominant at sites with low PI and GI scores (stannous fluoride and chlorhexidine groups), while spirochaetes and motile rods were more frequent at sites with high PI and GI scores (placebo group).

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