Design The study was a double-blind randomised controlled trail of a general population (members of which were not at risk for periodontal disease).Intervention Subjects in the test group were given a dentifrice containing 0.3% triclosan, 2% copolymer and 0.243% sodium fluoride (Colgate Total; Colgate Palmolive, Sydney, NSW, Australia), whereas members of the control group were supplied with a placebo dentifrice identical to the test dentifrice but not containing the triclosan/copolymer. At the baseline examination, probing pocket depths (PPD) and relative attachment levels were recorded and participants were assigned to either the test or control group. Re-examinations took place after 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 months.Outcome measures At the baseline and re-examination time points, PPD and relative attachment levels were recorded. Subgingival plaque samples were collected at each examination and assayed for Porphyromonas gingivalis, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans and Prevotella intermedia.Results On a population basis over a 5-year period, there was little difference in attachment level in the test and control groups. Subjects who had initial PPD ⩾3.5 mm who received the test toothpaste tended to have fewer interproximal PPD ⩾3.5 mm, however, and PPD reductions in sites were higher for those who had PPD ⩾3.5 mm at the previous examinations (P < 0.001). Increasing age, smoking and presence of P. gingivalis had significant effect on PPD reduction.Conclusions In a normal adult population, unsupervised use of a triclosan/copolymer dentifrice tended to slow progression of periodontal disease, and for patients with periodontal disease tended to reduce PPD.
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