Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate, in a randomized controlled cross-over study, the effect of daily intake of the alga Ascophyllum nodosum on supragingival calculus, plaque formation, and gingival health over a 6-month period.
Material and methods: Sixty-one adults with moderate to heavy calculus formation since their last yearly recall visit participated. In a randomized order over two 6-month periods, they swallowed two capsules daily, comprising a total of 500 mg dried marine alga powder (Ascophyllum nodosum, ProDen PlaqueOff®) or two negative control tablets. During the study, the participants maintained their regular oral habits. Their teeth were professionally cleaned at the start of each period and after the 6-month registrations. A wash out period of 1 month separated the two 6-month periods. Supragingival calculus (Volpe Manhold), gingivitis (Löe and Silness), gingival bleeding (Ainamo and Bay), and plaque (Quigley-Hein) were registered at screening and at the end of the two periods. Differences in oral health between the test and control periods were analyzed using a paired t test and Wilcoxon signed rank test.
Results: Fifty-five participants completed the study. After the alga intake, the mean calculus reduction was 52% compared to the control (p < 0.0001). Fifty-two participants showed less calculus formation in the alga group than in the control group. Plaque (p = 0.008) and gingival bleeding (p = 0.02) were also significantly less in the alga group. However, no significant difference was found between the groups for gingivitis (p = 0.13).
Conclusions: The alga intake significantly reduced the formation of supragingival calculus and plaque and occurrence of gingival bleeding. The alga has a systemic effect on oral health.
Clinical relevance: Daily intake of the alga Ascophyllum nodosum as an adjunct to customary oral hygiene showed a major reduction of supragingival calculus formation and reduced plaque formation. In addition, the calculus in the alga group was characterized by a more porous and less solid structure and was easier to remove than the calculus in the control group.