In order to find out if it is possible to prevent caries and gingivitis by periodical use of chlorhexidine-fluoride mouthrinses with or without strontium, and to find out what effects they have on salivary mutans streptococci and lactobacilli counts, a total of 243 schoolchildren aged 11 yr with high DMFS scores were randomly divided into four groups. One group (C) served as a basic control. Subjects in the second group (CXF) rinsed their mouths twice a day every third week with a rinsing solution containing 0.05% chlorhexidine gluconate and 0.04% NaF. In the third group (CXFS) the rinsing solution contained 500 ppm Sr during the first and second year and 15 ppm during the last 6 months, in addition to chlorhexidine and fluoride. In the fourth group (CX) the solution contained only 0.05% chlorhexidine gluconate. All the rinsing solutions had pH 5.8 buffered with succinic acid-NaOH buffer. After 2 yr and 9 months, the mean DMFS (SD) increments in the C, CXF, CXFS, and CX groups were 3.8 (5.7), 2.5 (3.2), 3.5 (4.8), and 3.4 (5.5), respectively. The percentage of subjects with bleeding gingival units had decreased from initial to final values as follows: C, 81-38; CXF, 88-42; CXFS, 89-56; CX, 89-37. The number of lactobacilli and mutans streptococci in saliva remained virtually unchanged throughout the study. For caries increment and gingival bleeding, the differences between groups were not statistically significant. The chlorhexidine-fluoride combination tended to prevent caries, but the effect on gingival bleeding and salivary counts of mutans streptococci and lactobacilli was negligible.