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Salivary Microbial Counts and Buffer Capacity in Children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

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Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the caries activity in children undergoing maintenance stage chemotherapy courses. Methods: Forty-six children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were examined, the age ranged from 3 to 12 years with a mean age of 7½ years. They were under maintenance stage chemotherapy at the Department of Pediatric Hematology of Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan. A control group of healthy children was recruited by age and sex-matching criteria. The children received only a clinical dental examination without radiographs. Decayed (D), Missing (M), and Filled (F) Tooth surfaces (S) scores were recorded following the WHO criteria. After oral examination, stimulated saliva samples were collected from the subjects to exam the salivary Streptococcus mutans counts, salivary lactobacilli counts and salivary buffer capacity. Result: The Wilcoxon signed-rank test shows that the salivary Streptococcus mutans counts in ALL children were significantly lower than healthy subjects (P<.001) and lactobacilli counts were similar on both groups (P=.47). However, the ALL group tended to have lower salivary buffer capacity than the control group (P=.002). The mean DEFTS/DMFTS scores of the ALL group were higher than the control group, but the differences did not reach statistical significance. Conclusions: Specific oral prevention regimens for ALL children undergoing chemotherapy should be planned for patients with unusually low salivary buffer capacity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taoyuan, Taiwan (Republic of China) 2: Divisions of Hematology and Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taoyuan, Taiwan (Republic of China)

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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