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Caries Res. 2012;46(2):118-29. doi: 10.1159/000337241. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

A randomized clinical trial of anticaries therapies targeted according to risk assessment (caries management by risk assessment).

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University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


This randomized parallel group clinical trial assessed whether combined antibacterial and fluoride therapy benefits the balance between caries pathological and protective factors. Eligible, enrolled adults (n = 231), with 1-7 baseline cavitated teeth, attending a dental school clinic were randomly assigned to a control or intervention group. Salivary mutans streptococci (MS), lactobacilli (LB), fluoride (F) level, and resulting caries risk status (low or high) assays were determined at baseline and every 6 months. After baseline, all cavitated teeth were restored. An examiner masked to group conducted caries exams at baseline and 2 years after completing restorations. The intervention group used fluoride dentifrice (1,100 ppm F as NaF), 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate rinse based upon bacterial challenge (MS and LB), and 0.05% NaF rinse based upon salivary F. For the primary outcome, mean caries increment, no statistically significant difference was observed (24% difference between control and intervention groups, p = 0.101). However, the supplemental adjusted zero-inflated Poisson caries increment (change in DMFS) model showed the intervention group had a statistically significantly 24% lower mean than the control group (p = 0.020). Overall, caries risk reduced significantly in intervention versus control over 2 years (baseline adjusted generalized linear mixed models odds ratio, aOR = 3.45; 95% CI: 1.67, 7.13). Change in MS bacterial challenge differed significantly between groups (aOR = 6.70; 95% CI: 2.96, 15.13) but not for LB or F. Targeted antibacterial and fluoride therapy based on salivary microbial and fluoride levels favorably altered the balance between pathological and protective caries risk factors.

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