Topical antimicrobial therapy in the prevention of early childhood caries: a follow-up report

Pediatr Dent. May-Jun 2002;24(3):204-6.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of antimicrobial therapy in the prevention of early childhood caries (ECC).

Methods: The study population consisted of 83 subjects (age: 12 to 19 months (x= 15.6); gender: 40 females and 43 males). Inclusion criteria included: (1) unremarkable medical history; (2) presence of 4 maxillary primary incisors (MPI) with no visible defects; (3) clinically caries free; (4) use of a nursing bottle at naptime and/or bedtime which contained a cariogenic substrate; (5) 2 consecutive ms positive cultures from pooled MPI plaque. The subjects were randomized into 2 groups. The 39 subjects in the experimental group and the 44 subjects in the control group were evaluated every 2 months during the study period. At each evaluation, the subjects had 10% povidone iodine (experimental group) or placebo (control group) applied to their dentition. Treatment failure was defined as the appearance of a white spot lesion(s) on any of the MPI during the study period.

Results: Using the Kaplan-Meier procedure, the estimated percents (+/- SES) of participants to experience 12 months of disease-free survival were 91 +/- 5% for those receiving treatment and 54 +/- 9% for those in the control group. Via the log-rank test, the hazard of treatment failure is statistically significantly higher in the placebo group (log-rank statistic 10.28, two-sided P=0.0013).

Conclusions: These observations indicate that topical antimicrobial therapy increases disease-free survival in children at high risk for ECC.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Povidone-Iodine / therapeutic use*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Survival Analysis


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Povidone-Iodine