Supervised Tooth Brushing and Caries Incidence

Dentistry Today


The anticaries effect of supervised tooth brushing, irrespective of the effect of fluoride toothpaste, has not yet been clearly determined. The objective of a study by Pires dos Santos et al was to assess the effects of supervised tooth brushing on caries incidence in children and adolescents. A systematic review of controlled trials was performed, retrieving 2,046 records; 112 were read in full and independently assessed by 2 reviewers, who collected data regarding characteristics of participants, interventions, outcomes, length of follow-up and risk of bias. Four trials were included and none of them had low risk of bias. They were all carried out in schools, but there was great variation regarding children’s age, fluoride content of the toothpaste, baseline caries levels, and the way caries incidence was reported. Among the 4 trials, 2 found statistically significant differences favoring supervised tooth brushing, but information about the magnitude and/or the precision of the effect estimate was lacking, and in one trial, clustering effect was not taken into consideration. No meta-analysis was performed due to the clinical heterogeneity among the included studies and differences in the reporting of data. The study concluded that there is no conclusive evidence regarding the effectiveness of supervised tooth brushing on caries incidence.

(Source: International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, September 21, 2017)

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