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J Dent Res. 2010 Oct;89(10):1086-90. doi: 10.1177/0022034510375825. Epub 2010 Jul 29.

A randomized trial on root caries prevention in elders.

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Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, School of Dentistry, The University of Adelaide, Australia.


Root caries is common in institutionalized elders, and effective prevention methods are needed. This clinical trial compared the effectiveness of four methods in preventing new root caries. From 21 residential homes, 306 generally healthy elders having at least 5 teeth with exposed sound root surfaces were randomly allocated into one of four groups: (1) individualized oral hygiene instruction (OHI); (2) OHI and applications of 1% chlorhexidine varnish every 3 months; (3) OHI and applications of 5% sodium fluoride varnish every 3 months; and (4) OHI and annual applications of 38% silver diamine fluoride (SDF) solution. Two-thirds (203/306) of the elders were followed for 3 years. Mean numbers of new root caries surfaces in the four groups were 2.5, 1.1, 0.9, and 0.7, respectively (ANOVA, p < 0.001). SDF solution, sodium fluoride varnish, and chlorhexidine varnish were more effective in preventing new root caries than giving OHI alone.

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