Evaluation of salivary nitric oxide level in children with early childhood caries

AR. Senthil Eagappan, V. Arun Prasad Rao, S. Sujatha, D. Senthil, J. Sathiyajeeva, G. Rajaraman


Background: Nitric oxide (NO), a highly reactive radical, participates in the nonspecific natural

defense mechanism of the oral cavity.

Aims and Objectives: The present study was attempted to evaluate the salivary NO levels in

4–5 year‑old children with early childhood caries (ECC). The objective of the present study was

to assess the salivary NO concentration in children with different caries activity.

Materials and Methods: The study included 120 healthy 4–5 year‑old children and they were

equally divided into three groups based on decayed, missing, filled surfaces (dmfs) score; forty

caries‑free children (control group), forty children with dmfs 1–5 (ECC group), and forty with

dmfs ≥6 (severe ECC group). Saliva collected was measured for NO concentration by Griess

reaction method. The obtained data were analyzed by ANOVA and Pearson’s correlation coefficient.

Results: The mean level of NO in the saliva of the control group was 51.2 ± 8.3457 and that of

ECC and severe ECC were 47.1 ± 5.2614 and 33.625 ± 4.6942, respectively. The mean salivary

NO concentration was significantly higher in healthy controls when compared to children with

ECC and severe ECC. Moreover, a negative correlation (r = −0.6658) was observed between the

salivary NO level and the mean dmfs, suggesting that as the salivary NO level decreases, the caries

incidence increases.

Conclusion: The obtained results support the antimicrobial activity of salivary NO and also suggest

that an increase in NO production might contribute to lower the caries occurrence in children.

Key Words: Dental caries, nitric oxide, saliva

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