Abstract The effect on plaque, gingivitis and dental caries of regularly repeated professional mechanical tooth cleaning combined with topical application of monofluoro-phosphate was tested in a group of 192 schoolchildren, 7–14 years of age, during a 2-year trial. They were divided into test and control groups.
A baseline examination revealed that the test and control groups had a very similar oral hygiene status, degree of gingival inflammation and caries experience. Once every second week during the 2-year period the children of the test groups were given professional oral prophylaxis including careful tooth cleaning and topical application of 5 % sodium mono-fluorophosphate. Once every month, the children of the control groups brushed their teeth at school, under supervision, using a 0.2 % sodium fluoride solution.
The results after 1 and 2 years of experiment indicate that the test group children had low Plaque Index scores (∼ 0.3), only negligible signs of gingivitis (∼ 0.25) and very low caries increment (0.1 new carious surface per year). The control group children had higher Plaque Index scores (∼ 1.0), showed signs of gingivitis (∼ 0.75), and developed on an average 3.1 new carious surfaces per year.
It is suggested that the efficacy of public health programmes, based on professional tooth cleaning and topical fluoride administration, should be tested in larger groups of children and adults.