How to Intervene in the Root Caries Process? Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses

Caries Res. 2019;53(6):599-608. doi: 10.1159/000501588. Epub 2019 Aug 14.


The aim of this review as part of the preparation for a workshop organized by the European Federation of Conservative Dentistry (EFCD) in conjunction with the European Organisation for Caries Research (ORCA) was to systematically analyze available evidence of non-, micro- as well as invasive interventions for root caries lesions (RCLs). For each treatment strategy, a separate systematic review was either performed (micro-invasive and choice of restorative material) or updated (non-invasive and excavation technique) each of them following PRISMA guidelines, and if possible meta-analyses were performed. Besides the general advice to improve tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste main findings for non-invasive interventions in RCLs, the use of dentifrices containing 5,000 ppm F- as well as professionally applied chlorhexidine varnish or silver diamine fluoride seemed to be more efficacious to arrest root caries compared to conventional fluoride toothpaste or placebo respectively. However, this conclusion is based only on a few randomized clinical trials. For micro-invasive treatments, only 2 studies focusing on sealants were available without clear conclusions. A recent review on the comparison of atraumatic restorative treatment compared with conventional treatment concluded that there is insufficient data to clearly rule out if any difference with regard to restoration longevity between both techniques exists. When restoring coventionally, composites performed better than resin-modified and glass ionomer cements. However, all materials showed rather high annual failure rates in the majority of the studies and evidence is based on a low number of prospective studies with a rather high risk of bias.

Keywords: Caries; Carious; Cervical; Chlorhexidine; Composite; Elderly; Fluoride; Glass ionomer cement; Minimum intervention; Oral health; Root; Sealant.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dental Atraumatic Restorative Treatment*
  • Dentifrices / therapeutic use
  • Glass Ionomer Cements
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Root Caries / prevention & control*
  • Root Caries / therapy*


  • Dentifrices
  • Glass Ionomer Cements