Purpose: The effect of a chlorhexidine varnish delivery system on the levels of selected oral microorganisms was evaluated in caries active pediatric patients, ages 4 to 12 years old. Methods: Forty-six patients were enrolled into the study when they had multiple carious surfaces and salivary mutans streptococci (MS) levels higher than 104 colony forming units (CFUs) per milliliter. This study incorporated a double-blind design and patients were randomly assigned to either the chlorhexidine treatment group or the placebo group. Complete-arch, vacuum-adapted mouthguards (0.02 in. polypropylene coping material) were custom fabricated and coated internally with either a 3.0% chlorhexidine varnish or a placebo varnish. Two pretreatment paraffin-stimulated saliva samples were obtained for culturing prior to varnish treatment. Saliva samples were also obtained immediately after treatment and once a month for up to three months after wearing the mouthguard appliances. Dental restorations were placed at most of these saliva collection visits. Mouthguards were reportedly worn for an average of 9.7 hours per night for approximately seven nights by 40 subjects (87%). Results: After two months, and after three months, there was a significant reduction in MS levels immediately after the chlorhexidine varnish treatment. Total anaerobic and total facultative bacteria levels were not significantly affected. Conclusion: One week of nightly use of the chlorhexidine varnish mouthguard system is effective at reducing the number of MS in caries-active pediatric patients in the mixed and primary dentition for at least three months.
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|Published - May 1 1999