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J Dent Res. 1991 Nov;70(11):1401-8.

Clinical trial in adults of an antimicrobial varnish for reducing mutans streptococci.

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Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


An abbreviated treatment with a chlorhexidine-containing varnish was compared with a similar treatment with a placebo varnish and with a prophylaxis alone for its effects on the numbers of detectable salivary mutants streptococci in 51 adults. The varnishes, applied once weekly for four weeks, were held in place with a covering layer of either of two polyurethane sealants (FluorProtector or Adhesit). On the first appointment, the varnish-sealant combination was applied to all tooth surfaces, but on succeeding appointments only the occlusal and approximal surfaces were covered. The chlorhexidine varnish, covered with either sealant, reduced the salivary mutans streptococci by an average of 3 logs (99.9%) in all of the 20 subjects treated, and below detectable levels for at least four weeks in nine of them. In the groups receiving placebo varnish-sealant combinations, the mean log number of mutans streptococci of the subjects was reduced only by approximately 0.5 log (32%), and none of the subjects experienced loss of their detectable mutans streptococci for four weeks, although one subject did so for three weeks. No significant difference between the effects of the two polyurethane sealants was observed. Treatment with a single prophylaxis had no effect on mutans streptococcus levels. Subjects treated with chlorhexidine varnish also experienced an increase in S. sanguis and a small decrease in yeasts. Loss of detectable mutans streptococci did not cause changes in the numbers of other micro-organisms examined, beyond those observed with chlorhexidine varnish treatment alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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