Self-performed mechanical plaque control (SPC) in the form of tooth-brushing and interproximal cleaning is a key strategy for preventing gingivitis and periodontitis.
However, there was a lack of evidence in the literature about how often SPC sessions should be performed to maintain gingival health in periodontitis patients with a history of periodontitis who participate in professional periodontal-maintenance programmes.
In this context, researchers at the University of Santa Maria in Brazil carried out a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effect of SPC frequency on the maintenance of gingival health in subjects with a history of periodontitis.
This study, now summarised as JCP Digest number 79, found that SPC at intervals of 12 or 24 hours, combined with consistent periodontal maintenance visits, showed “stable levels of gingival health in patients susceptible to periodontitis.”
In contrast, when SPC was performed at intervals of 48 hours, the patients exhibited twice as many sites with gingival inflammation and bleeding. This increased inflammation correlated to higher plaque levels compared to those of subjects who brushed their teeth at 12- or 24-hour intervals.
The research was summarised for JCP Digest by students of the postgraduate programme in periodontology at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.