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Abstract

The focus of this review on periodontal self-care will be based primarily on the results of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Based on the evidence gleaned from systematic reviews, it is notable that most authors of these reviews commented on the relatively small number of trials that could pass the quality-assessment inclusion in the systematic review. Interproximal devices, namely interproximal brushes, are more effective for reducing interproximal plaque and gingivitis than are flossing or brushing alone. Some added benefit may be attributed to the use of rotational oscillation powered toothbrushes over manual toothbrushes. Recommendations by the dentist and dental hygienist to add one or more chemotherapeutic agents to the typical oral hygiene regimen has been shown, in systematic reviews and meta-analyses, to reduce the level of plaque and gingival inflammation in patients. Oral irrigation does not seem to reduce visible plaque but does tend to reduce inflammation, determined by the presence of bleeding on probing, the gingival index score and probing depth measurements. To date, high-quality evidence is either lacking or weak in some areas regarding the efficacy of self-care and periodontal disease. Low educational attainment, smoking and socio-economic status are related to adverse periodontal health outcomes. Variation in self-esteem, self-confidence and perfectionism are associated with oral health status and oral health behaviors. Better understanding of the psychological factors associated with oral hygiene would be of benefit in further developing strategies to help patients improve their oral hygiene in addition to helping professionals design better programs on prevention and education.