Buffering effect of a prophylactic gel on dental plaque in institutionalised elderly

Anitha Persson, Peter Lingström, Maud Bergdahl, Rolf Claesson, Jan W. V. van Dijken

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    OBJECTIVES: The effect of multiple daily applications of a prophylactic gel, with buffering substances, on plaque acidogenicity in elderly institutionalised individuals was evaluated. BACKGROUND: Many elderly suffer from reduced salivary flow, poor oral hygiene and increased levels of cariogenic bacteria and are considered to be at an increased risk for coronal and root caries. Reinforcing the buffering capacity of dental plaque by the addition of substances such as bicarbonate and phosphates may decrease their caries activity. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fourteen elderly, with subjective dry mouth, were treated for 16-day-periods at random with: (i) Profylin fluoride gel with buffering components; (ii) Profylin fluoride gel without buffering components and (iii) rinsing with water. Applications were made four times a day and each period was followed by a 2-week wash-out period. The plaque pH was registered after a carbohydrate challenge and the following were recorded before and after each test period: stimulated salivary secretion rate, buffer capacity, number Colony Farming Units (CFU) mutans streptococci, lactobacilli and a sample of Candida albicans on oral mucosa. RESULTS: Eleven participants (mean age 76.6 years) fulfilled the study. Changes in plaque pH measurements, when calculated as area under the curve (AUC(6.2) and AUC(5.7)) values (pH x min), before and after each of the three treatments, showed no significant differences. A tendency to a higher plaque acidogenicity and amount of cariogenic microorganisms was found after the gel treatments. C. albicans was found in low levels. CONCLUSION: Frequent applications of the gel did not result in an improved neutralising effect in the elderly. This may be caused by a combination of several factors, such as the level of oral dryness of the individuals and low solubility, release and retention of the gel substances in plaque. Instead, an increased plaque acidogenicity was noted.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)98-104
    Number of pages6
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Dentistry (30216)


    • Buffering
    • elderly
    • gel
    • microorganisms
    • plaque pH
    • prophylaxis


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