Estimation of Levels of Proline and Arginine in Saliva of Children with Early Childhood Caries

Meghna Bhandary
Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, A.B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Background: ECC has been a major public health problem of young children, affecting their normal growth,development as well as social adaptation. Saliva is commonly referred to as the blood stream of oral cavity. There are several substances in saliva that has the ability of reducing caries either through killing bacteria or by raising plaque pH which include several peptides and free amino acids.Proline found in saliva binds with calcium, aids in pellicle formation, thus maintaining the super saturation of ionic calcium in saliva and aids in initial remineralization of demineralized tooth. Ammonia production from Arginine maintains the pH above the critical pH level and prevents the development of dental caries. Minimal studies are available where the levels of arginine and proline are observed in children with ECC.

Methodology: 150 children aged less than 6 years were selected. The subjects included in this study were categorized into three equal groups. Group 1 with ECC and Group 2 consists of children with severe ECC and Group 3 with children without clinically visible dental caries were taken as a control Group . Unstimulated salivary samples were collected from the study group and control group. Levels of arginine and proline were measured by Ninhydrin method and dental caries was assessed using def index given by Grubbel A.O

Results: Decline in the levels of arginine and proline was noted. There is significant negative correlation between the levels of arginine , proline and def score. No correlation was present between age and levels of proline and arginine.

Conclusion: Children at an early age should be supplemented with diet rich in various amino acids including proline and arginine which not only helps in developing a good immune system but also in maintaining a good oral health.

Meghna Bhandary