This clinical study evaluated the effect of different oral hygiene protocols on the bacterial composition of dental plaque. After a 2-week period of using fluoride-free toothpaste, 30 participants followed three 1-week experimental protocols, each followed by 2-week fluoride-free washout periods in a randomized crossover examiner-blind controlled trial. The 1-week experimental protocols comprised the use of AmF/SnF2 toothpaste twice daily, after which participants either (1) rinsed with tap water, (2) did not rinse but only spat out the toothpaste, or (3) rinsed with an AmF/SnF2 mouthwash. In the fluoride-free washout periods, the participants brushed their teeth with fluoride-free toothpaste without further instructions. Six hours after the last brushing (± rinsing) of each period, buccal plaque samples in the upper molar region were taken. The microbiota composition of the plaque samples was analyzed by checkerboard DNA:DNA hybridization. A statistically significant reduction was found in the total amount of DNA of the 39 major plaque species measured, and in the proportions of some acid-producing bacterial strains after the period having used the AmF/SnF2 toothpaste + AmF/SnF2 mouthrinsing. The results indicate that using the AmF/SnF2 toothpaste and rinse combination could result in plaque of lower cariogenicity.

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