Data sources: PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases.
Study selection: PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were searched for studies published in English between January 1950 and February 2017.
Data extraction and synthesis: Data were extracted independently by two reviewers and risk of bias assessed using a modified Jadad scale. Heterogeneity was evaluated using the chi-squared statistic and meta-analysis performed.
Results: Three randomised trials were included, involving 681 participants; all children 10-13 years old. Two trials were conducted in the USA and one in the UK. Two studies tested school-based, daily supervised oral hygiene (including plaque staining and removal and supervised flossing) against control groups; one study tested the same intervention every two weeks against controls. Two studies measured decayed, missing or filled surfaces (DMFS) scores at three years and one trial at 29 months. Personal oral hygiene interventions failed to influence the incidence of dental caries, (DMFS = -0.11; 95% CI -0.91, 0.69: P value <0.79). Four non-randomised trials were retained to conduct sensitivity analyses.
Conclusions: Personal oral hygiene interventions delivered to school children failed to show a reduction in coronal dental carious lesion incidence over three years when compared to control groups.