Objective: To compare the effectiveness of triclosan/copolymer and fluoride dentifrices in improving plaque control and gingival health.
Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, MEDLINE (1986 to March 2003) and EMBASE (1986 to March 2003). Personal files and the reference lists of all articles were checked for further studies.
Selection criteria: Trials were selected if they met the following criteria: random allocation of participants; participants were adults with plaque and gingivitis; unsupervised use of dentifrices for at least 6 months; and primary outcomes – plaque and gingivitis after 6 months.
Data collection and analysis: Two reviewers independently extracted information. For each plaque and gingivitis index, the mean differences for each study were pooled as weighted mean differences (WMDs) with the appropriate 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using the random effect models.
Main results: Sixteen trials provided data for the meta-analysis. The triclosan/copolymer dentifrice significantly improved plaque control compared with a fluoride dentifrice, with a WMD of −0.48 (95% CI: −0.64 to −0.32) for the Quigley–Hein index and WMD of −0.15 (95% CI: −0.20 to −0.09) for the plaque severity index. When compared with a fluoride dentifrice, the triclosan/copolymer dentifrice significantly reduced gingivitis with WMDs −0.26 (95% CI: −0.34 to −0.18) and −0.12 (95% CI: −0.17 to −0.08) for the Loe and Silness index and gingivitis severity index, respectively.