The purpose of the present longitudinal study was to determine the effectiveness of 0.2% chlorhexidine (CHX) in removing mutans streptococci (MS) in a treatment cohort of cariesfree, preschool children.Methods:
Thirty-six children with mean age 38.6±15.9 months who had MS infection brushed once daily with 0.2% chlorhexidine (CHX) gel for a period of 6-12 months. The children were examined every three months to assess their oral hygiene and dietary habits and MS status using a commercial microbiological kit.Results:
The percentages of children who eliminated MS from their mouths increased from 28 per cent after three months to 48 per cent after six months and over 70 per cent after 12 months of gel use (p=0.039). Compliance of brushing with CHX gel was significantly associated with MS removal after six months gel use (p<0.02). At the three and six month recalls, sugar snacks and increased sugar frequency were associated with continued presence of MS (p=0.03 and p=0.007). After three months cessation of CHX use, 13 (45 per cent) remained MS free (p=0.003).Conclusions:
This pilot study involving caries-free preschoolers with MS shows the potential of chlorhexidine gel to remove MS for the limited duration of study.