Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the significance and role of physical parameters of saliva on periodontal health in children with Down syndrome (DS).
Materials and methods: A comparative evaluation of physical parameters of saliva such as flow rate, viscosity, pH, quantity and buffering capacity, and buffer capacity was carried out using GC Saliva-Check Buffer kit and correlated with periodontal condition examined using community periodontal index of treatment needs (CPITN) in 40 DS subjects (group I) and 40 healthy controls (group II) aged 8–15 years.
Results: Down syndrome subjects had a low resting salivary flow rate, moderately acidic saliva, very low quantity of stimulated saliva, and low buffering capacity. On correlating salivary parameters with the periodontal condition, DS subjects with CPITN code 1 had low resting salivary flow rate, normal viscosity, moderately acidic pH, very low quantity of stimulated saliva, and low buffering capacity. Down syndrome subjects with CPITN code 2 had low resting flow rate, increased viscosity, very low quantity of stimulated saliva, low buffering capacity, and moderately acidic pH. Healthy controls with CPITN code 0 had normal resting flow rate, viscosity of saliva, quantity of stimulated saliva, buffering capacity, and moderately acidic pH.
Conclusion: Compared to healthy controls, DS subjects showed decreased values for resting flow rate, pH, quantity of stimulated saliva, and buffering capacity. A statistically significant correlation was observed between the physical parameters of saliva and periodontal condition in DS subjects (p < 0.05).
Clinical significance: Periodontal diseases start at a very early age and periodontal health deteriorates at a faster rate in DS children for which saliva also plays its part. Prime importance should be given to frequent oral hygiene and preventive measures in DS children thus preventing accumulation of debris and plaque.