Annual SDF Applications Effectively Arrest Root Caries

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The annual application of a silver diammine fluoride (SDF) solution effectively arrests root caries regardless of the fluoridation in the community’s water supply, according to Edward Lo, MDS, PhD, of the University of Hong Kong.

Lo recruited 533 senior citizens who had at least 5 teeth with exposed root surfaces not indicated for extraction. Of the participants, 260 with 84 active root caries lesions came from fluoridated Hong Kong, while 273 with 54 active root caries lesions were from nonfluoridated Guangzhou.

Next, Lo randomly allocated these subjects into placebo control groups, who received an annual application of soda water, and tests group, who received an annual application of a 38% SDF solution. The subjects also received oral hygiene instruction and fluoridated toothpaste. Calibrated examiners evaluated their dental root surfaces at baseline and every 6 months.

After 18 months, 32% of the active lesions in the placebo group and 75% of the active lesions in the SDF group in Hong Kong were arrested. Meanwhile, 11% of the active lesions in the placebo group and 87% of the active lesions in the SDF group in Guangzhou were arrested.

Lo and his team, then, concluded that the annual application of 38% SDF solution can arrest root caries in community-dwelling elders. Also, the background water fluoride level does not have a statistically significant influence on SDF’s effectiveness.

The clinical trial is ongoing, and longer-term results will be reported later. The research is supported by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR)/Colgate Community-based Research Award for Caries Prevention. It was presented on Friday, June 24, as part of the 94th General Session & Exhibition of the IADR in Seoul, North Korea.

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