Objective: To compare the effectiveness of an oral irrigator (OI) with a prototype jet tip or a standard jet tip to floss as adjunct to daily toothbrushing on gingival bleeding. Methods: In this single masked, 3-group parallel, 4-week home use experiment, 108 subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1) OI with a prototype jet tip; 2) OI with a standard jet tip; 3) waxed dental floss. All groups used their assigned product once a day as adjunct to twice daily toothbrushing for two minutes with a standard ADA reference toothbrush. Professional instructions were given by a dental hygienist in OI use or floss use according to written instructions. All subjects also received a toothbrush instruction leaflet (Bass technique). Subjects were assessed for both bleeding and plaque at baseline and after two weeks and four weeks and were instructed to brush their teeth approximately 2 to 3 hours prior to their assessment. Results: With respect to mean bleeding scores the ANCOVA analysis with baseline as covariate and week 4 as dependent variable showed a significant difference between groups in favor of both the oral irrigator groups. For plaque, however, no significant difference among groups was observed. Conclusion: When combined with manual toothbrushing the daily use of an oral irrigator, either with prototype or standard jet tip, is significantly more effective in reducing gingival bleeding scores than is the use of dental floss, as determined within the limits of this 4-week study design.
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