The Trial to Enhance Elderly Teeth Health (TEETH) was designed to test the impact of regular rinsing with a 0.12% chlorhexidine (CHX) solution on tooth loss, and the causes of tooth loss (caries, periodontal disease and trauma) were also investigated. This paper reports on the effectiveness of a 0.12% CHX solution for controlling caries using a tooth surface (coronal and root) survival analysis. A total of 1,101 low income elders in Seattle (United States) and Vancouver (Canada), aged 60-75 years, were recruited for a double-blind clinical trial and assigned to either a CHX (n = 550) or a placebo (n = 551) mouth rinse. Subjects alternated between daily rinsing for 1 month, followed by weekly rinsing for 5 months. All sound coronal and root surfaces at baseline were followed annually for up to 5 years. At each follow-up examination, those tooth surfaces with caries, restored, or extracted were scored as 'carious'. The hazard ratio associated with CHX for a sound surface to become filled, decayed, or extracted was 0.87 for coronal surfaces (95% confidence interval: 0.71-1.14, p = 0.20) and 0.91 for root surfaces (95% confidence interval: 0.73-1.14, p = 0.41). These findings suggest that regular rinsing with CHX does not have a substantial effect on the preservation of sound tooth structure in older adults.
- Chlorhexidine, caries prevention
- Coronal caries
- Root caries
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