Understanding treatment effect mechanisms of the CAMBRA randomized trial in reducing caries increment.
Published Web Locationhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270809/
The Caries Management By Risk Assessment (CAMBRA) randomized controlled trial showed that an intervention featuring combined antibacterial and fluoride therapy significantly reduced bacterial load and suggested reduced caries increment in adults with 1 to 7 baseline cavitated teeth. While trial results speak to the overall effectiveness of an intervention, insight can be gained from understanding the mechanism by which an intervention acts on putative intermediate variables (mediators) to affect outcomes. This study conducted mediation analyses on 109 participants who completed the trial to understand whether the intervention reduced caries increment through its action on potential mediators (oral bacterial load, fluoride levels, and overall caries risk based on the composite of bacterial challenge and salivary fluoride) between the intervention and dental outcomes. The primary outcome was the increment from baseline in decayed, missing, and filled permanent surfaces (ΔDMFS) 24 mo after completing restorations for baseline cavitated lesions. Analyses adjusted for baseline overall risk, bacterial challenge, and fluoride values under a potential outcome framework using generalized linear models. Overall, the CAMBRA intervention was suggestive in reducing the 24-mo DMFS increment (reduction in ΔDMFS: -0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -2.01 to 0.08; P = 0.07); the intervention significantly reduced the 12-mo overall risk (reduction in overall risk: -19%; 95% CI, -7 to -41%;], P = 0.005). Individual mediators, salivary log10 mutans streptococci, log10 lactobacilli, and fluoride level, did not represent statistically significant pathways alone through which the intervention effect was transmitted. However, 36% of the intervention effect on 24-mo DMFS increment was through a mediation effect on 12-mo overall risk (P = 0.03). These findings suggest a greater intervention effect carried through the combined action on multiple aspects of the caries process rather than through any single factor. In addition, a substantial portion of the total effect of the CAMBRA intervention may have operated through unanticipated or unmeasured pathways not included among the potential mediators studied.