The evidence base for professional and self-care prevention--caries, erosion and sensitivity

BMC Oral Health. 2015;15 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S4. doi: 10.1186/1472-6831-15-S1-S4. Epub 2015 Sep 15.


Background: The aim of this conference paper was to examine the evidence base for primary and secondary prevention of dental caries, erosions and dentin hypersensitivity through professional and self-care measures.

Methods: A mapping of systematic reviews (SR) of literature was carried out in PubMed and the Cochrane library through April 2014 using established MeSH-terms and disease-related search words in various combinations. The search was restricted to SR's published in English or Scandinavian and all age groups were considered. The reference lists of the selected papers were hand-searched for additional review articles of potential interest. Meta-analyses, guidelines and treatment recommendations were considered only when SR's were lacking. In the event of updates or multiple systematic reviews covering the same topic, only the most recent article was included. No quality assessment of the systematic reviews was carried out. The quality of evidence was rated in four levels according to the GRADE scale.

Results: In total, 39 SR were included. For primary caries prevention, the quality of evidence was high for the use of fluoride toothpaste (with and without triclosan) and moderate for fluoride varnish and fissure sealants. The quality of evidence for fluoride gel, fluoride mouth rinse, xylitol gums and silver diamine fluoride (SDF) was rated as low. For secondary caries prevention and caries arrest, only fluoride interventions and SDF proved consistent benefits, although the quality of evidence was low. Likewise, the GRADE score for preventing erosions located in the enamel with fluoride supplements was low. The quality of evidence for various professional and self-care methods to prevent and manage dentine hypersensitivity was very low.

Conclusions: There are knowledge gaps in many domains of cariology and preventive dentistry that must be addressed and bridged through clinical research of good quality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cariostatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Dentin Sensitivity / prevention & control*
  • Evidence-Based Dentistry
  • Humans
  • Preventive Dentistry
  • Self Care


  • Cariostatic Agents