"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead
Research Article

Dental caries experience and salivary Streptococcus mutans, lactobacilli scores, salivary flow rate, and salivary buffering capacity among 6-year-old Indian school children


Context:Dental caries is a disease of multifactorial etiology. A variety of potential predictors have been examined for the association with caries increments in longitudinal and cross-sectional studies.Aims:The aim of this study was to assess the possible relationship among salivary cariogenic microflora, buffer capacity, secretion rate, and caries experience among 6-year-old school-going children in Davangere city, India.Settings and Design:A total of 196 6-year-old school children were selected by a two-stage random sampling method.Materials and Methods:Parents were interrogated regarding sociodemographic details. Clinical examination of children was conducted to assess dental caries experience, and stimulated saliva was collected to assess S. mutans levels, lactobacilli, salivary flow, and buffering capacity of saliva.Statistical Analysis:The difference in proportions was tested using Kruskal–Wallis analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by the Mann–Whitney U-test for intragroup comparison, and the difference in mean was tested using ANOVA and independent sample t-test as necessary. Caries experience was correlated with salivary factors using Spearman's correlation coefficient.Results:Out of 196 children, 96 were boys and 100 were girls. Overall, 97 (49.49%) children were caries free (dmft, DMFT = 0) and 99 (50.51%) children presented with caries (dmft, DMFT>0). The mean dmft and dmfs score for the overall group was 3.20 and 5.43, respectively. The mean DMFT and DMFS score was 0.23 and 0.25, respectively. A highly significant correlation was seen between mean the caries score and salivary variables.Conclusions:High levels of salivary microbiological counts in correlation with the caries data stress the importance of these factors and urge the necessity of elective preventive programs in this region.