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The Caries-Preventive Effect of Chlorhexidine Varnish in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review

James P. · Parnell C. · Whelton H.

Author affiliations

Oral Health Services Research Centre, Cork University Dental School and Hospital, Cork, Ireland

Corresponding Author

Patrice James

Oral Health Services Research Centre

Cork University Dental School and Hospital Wilton, Cork (Ireland)

Tel. +353 21 490 1210, Fax +353 21 454 5391, E-Mail p.james@ucc.ie

Related Articles for ""

Caries Res 2010;44:333–340

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Aims: Our purpose was to systematically review the literature on the effectiveness of chlorhexidine varnish for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents and to determine its effectiveness compared to fluoride varnish. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were searched through December 2009 to identify relevant randomised trials with blind outcome assessment and a minimum duration of 1 year. The search was later updated in MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library to March 19th, 2010. Risk of bias of the included trials was assessed. The primary outcome was the caries increment. Results: Twelve trials met the inclusion criteria for the review. There was considerable variation between trials in the concentration and frequency of application of the chlorhexidine varnish, in baseline caries levels and in background exposure to fluoride. Six parallel-group trials reported no statistically significant difference in caries increment in permanent teeth with the application of chlorhexidine varnish compared to placebo or no treatment. The results of 4 split-mouth trials were conflicting: 2 trials found no significant difference in caries increment and 2 reported statistically significant results in favour of chlorhexidine varnish. One trial of the effect of chlorhexidine varnish in primary teeth demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in caries increment. The results of 1 trial comparing chlorhexidine varnish with fluoride varnish for preventing caries in adolescents were equivocal. Conclusion: Evidence regarding the effectiveness of chlorhexidine varnish for preventing caries is inconclusive. Further well-conducted randomised trials are required before chlorhexidine varnish can be recommended for caries prevention.

© 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Review

Received: March 22, 2010
Accepted: May 20, 2010
Published online: July 07, 2010
Issue release date: September 2010

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0008-6568 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-976X (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/CRE

Open Access License / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer

Open Access License: This is an Open Access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC) (www.karger.com/OA-license), applicable to the online version of the article only. Distribution permitted for non-commercial purposes only.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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