The aim of this study was to determine the effects of one and two applications of 40% chlorhexidine varnish on the numbers of mutans streptococci in human dental fissure plaques from molar and premolar teeth. Twenty-nine subjects (aged 20-30 years) participated in the study and were randomly assigned to one of three groups. In each subject two fissures with high levels of mutans streprococci were selected. The fissures in group 1 (control group) were treated with placebo varnish containing no chlorhexidine. Fissures in group 2 received a single application of 40% chlorhexidine varnish, whereas fissures in group 3 received an additional chlorhexidine varnish application 1 week after the first application. Fissure plaque samples were taken prior to the first application of chlorhexidine varnish and subsequently 1, 2, and 4 months thereafter. Compared with the fissures in the control group, the suppression of mutans streptococci was significant in plaques from group 2 for up to 2 months and in plaques from group 3 for up to 4 months after application. Mutans streptococci were suppressed more strongly in premolar than in molar teeth and more strongly and for a longer period of time in fissures of premolar teeth treated twice than in fissures of premolars treated once.

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