Systematic review on noninvasive treatment of root caries lesions

J Dent Res. 2015 Feb;94(2):261-71. doi: 10.1177/0022034514557330. Epub 2014 Nov 14.


The present systematic review critically summarizes results of clinical studies investigating chemical agents to reduce initiation or inactivation of root caries lesions (RCLs). Outcomes were DMFRS/DFRS (decayed, missing, filled root surfaces), surface texture (hard/soft), and/or RCI (root caries index). Three electronic databases were screened for studies from 1947 to 2014. Cross-referencing was used to further identify articles. Article selection and data abstraction were done in duplicate. Languages were restricted to English and German. Mean differences (MD) were calculated for changes in DMFRS/DFRS. Risk ratios (RR) were calculated for changes in surface texture and RCI in a random effects model. Thirty-four articles with 1 or more agents were included; they reported 30 studies with 10,136 patients who were 20 to 101 y old; and they analyzed 28 chemical agents (alone or in combination). Eleven studies investigated dentifrices, 10 rinses, 8 varnishes, 3 solutions, 3 gels, and 2 ozone applications. Meta-analyses revealed that dentifrices containing 5,000 ppm F(-) (RR = 0.49; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 0.42, 0.57; high level of evidence) or 1.5% arginine plus 1,450 ppm F(-) (RR = 0.79; 95% CI = 0.64, 0.98; very low level) are more effective in inactivating RCLs than dentifrices containing 1,100 to 1,450 ppm F(-). Self-applied AmF/SnF2-containing dentifrice and rinse decreased the initiation of RCLs when compared with NaF products (standardized MD = 0.15; 95% CI = -0.22, 0.52; low level). Patients rinsing with a mouth rinse containing 225 to 900 ppm F(-) revealed a significantly reduced DMFRS/DFRS (MD = -0.18; 95% CI = -0.35, -0.01; low level) when compared with a placebo rinse. Significantly reduced RCI was found for CHX (MD = -0.67; 95% CI = -1.01, -0.32; very low level) as well as SDF (MD = -0.33; 95% CI = -0.39, -0.28; very low level) when compared with placebo varnish. Regular use of dentifrices containing 5,000 ppm F(-) and quarterly professionally applied CHX or SDF varnishes seem to be efficacious to decrease progression and initiation of root caries, respectively. However, this conclusion is based on only very few well-conducted randomized controlled trials.

Keywords: clinical; demineralization; geriatric dentistry; meta-analyses; prevention; remineralization.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cariostatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • DMF Index
  • Dentifrices / therapeutic use
  • Fluorides / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Mouthwashes / therapeutic use
  • Root Caries / drug therapy*
  • Root Caries / prevention & control
  • Tooth Remineralization / methods


  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Dentifrices
  • Mouthwashes
  • Fluorides