Supplementary Material for: Systematic Reviews of Topical Fluorides for Dental Caries: A Review of Reporting Practice

2010-12-10T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Ijaz S. Croucher R.E. Marinho V.C.C.
This paper aims to assess systematic reviews on the caries-preventive effect of topical fluorides, identifying key content and reporting quality issues to be considered by researchers planning a review in this area. Published systematic reviews and meta-analyses of any topical fluoride intervention for caries control were included. Relevant databases were searched (December 2009), along with reference lists of included publications. Thirty-eight reports were identified and assessed. A majority of these focused on the child/adolescent population, fluoride toothpastes, no treatment/placebo comparisons, and had caries increment as the main outcome. Complete reporting of eligibility criteria (PICOS) was uncommon, except in Cochrane reviews. Less than half reported searching multiple sources and only one third reported a search strategy. Duplicate study selection and data extraction was reported in 27 (71%) and 16 (42%) reviews, respectively; quality assessment of included studies was not reported in one third of the reviews. Meta-analysis was reported in 20 (52%) reviews, with six not reporting the methods of synthesis used, 17 formally assessing heterogeneity, and 12 reporting analyses for its exploration. This study shows that some content features have been covered more often than others in existing fluoride reviews, while some relevant features are yet to be addressed. Also, reporting of several methodological aspects are below an acceptable level, except for Cochrane reviews. Current reporting guidelines for systematic reviews of interventions (e.g. PRISMA) and sources of high-quality existing reviews (e.g. The Cochrane Library) should be closely followed to enhance the validity and relevance of future topical fluoride reviews.