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Int Dent J. 2011 Aug;61(4):179-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1875-595X.2011.00055.x.

Extent and quality of systematic review evidence related to minimum intervention in dentistry: essential oils, powered toothbrushes, triclosan, xylitol.

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Division of Public Oral Health, Faculty of Health Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.



To investigate extent and quality of current systematic review evidence regarding: powered toothbrushes, triclosan toothpaste, essential oil mouthwashes, xylitol chewing gum.


Five databases were searched for systematic reviews until 13 November 2010.


relevant to topic, systematic review according to title and/or abstract, published in English. Article exclusion criteria were based on QUOROM recommendations for the reporting of systematic review methods. Systematic review quality was judged using the AMSTAR tool. All trials included by reviews were assessed for selection bias.


119 articles were found, of which 11 systematic reviews were included. Of these, six were excluded and five accepted: one for triclosan toothpaste; one for xylitol chewing gum; two for powered toothbrushes; one for essential oil mouthwashes. AMSTAR scores: triclosan toothpaste 7; powered toothbrushes 9 and 11; xylitol chewing gum 9; essential oil mouthwashes 8. In total, 75 (out of 76) reviewed trials were identified. In-depth assessment showed a high risk of selection bias for all trials.


The extent of available systematic review evidence is low. Although the few identified systematic reviews could be rated as of medium and high quality, the validity of their conclusions needs to be treated with caution, owing to high risk of selection bias in the reviewed trials. High quality randomised control trials are needed in order to provide convincing evidence regarding true clinical efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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