The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of fluoridated elastomeric ligatures on the microbiology of local dental plaque in vivo. This randomized, prospective, longitudinal, clinical trial had a split-mouth crossover design. The subjects were 30 patients at the beginning of their treatment with fixed orthodontic appliances in the orthodontic departments of the Liverpool and the Sheffield dental hospitals in the United Kingdom. The study consisted of 2 experimental periods of 6 weeks with a washout period between. Fluoridated elastomers were randomly allocated at the first visit to be placed around brackets on tooth numbers 12, 11, 33 or 22, 21, 43. Nonfluoridated elastomers were placed on the contralateral teeth. Standard nonantibacterial fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash were supplied. After 6 weeks (visit 2), the elastomers were removed, placed in transport media, and plated on agar within 2 hours. Nonfluoridated elastomers were placed on all brackets for 1 visit to allow for a washout period. At visit 3, fluoridated elastomers were placed on the teeth contralateral to those that received them at visit 1. At visit 4, the procedures at visit 2 were repeated. Samples were collected on visits 2 and 4. A logistic regression was performed, with the presence or absence of streptococcal or anaerobic growth as the dependent variable. A mixed-effects analysis of variance was carried out with the percentage of streptococcal or anaerobic bacterial count as the dependent variable. The only significant independent variables were the subject variable (P = < .001) for the percentage of streptococcal and anaerobic bacterial count and the visit variable for the percentage of streptococcal count (P = < .001). The use of fluoridated or nonfluoridated elastomers was not significant for percentage of either streptococcal (P = .288) or anaerobic count (P = .230). Fluoridated elastomers are not effective at reducing local streptococcal or anaerobic bacterial growth after a clinically relevant time in the mouth
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