A randomized controlled clinical study of the effect of daily intake of Ascophyllum nodosum alga on calculus, plaque, and gingivitis

Clin Oral Investig. 2015 Jul;19(6):1507-18. doi: 10.1007/s00784-014-1383-2. Epub 2014 Dec 16.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ascophyllum*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dental Calculus / prevention & control*
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Gingivitis / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome