The Association of Salivary Calcium, Inorganic Phosphorus, Zinc and Copper in Children and Early Childhood Caries: A case-control study


Background Dental caries in children is the most common disease worldwide. It remains the most prevalent chronic disease in young children in some developing countries. Objectives This study was carried out to evaluate the levels of calcium (Ca), inorganic phosphorus (P), zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) in the saliva of pre-school children aged 4-5 years and to evaluate their plausible association with Early Childhood Caries (ECC). Materials and Methods Sixty children were divided into two groups; thirty children with ECC and thirty children without dental caries experience. Two milliliters of unstimulated whole saliva were collected from each child using spitting method. The Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAP) was used to measure the levels of Ca, Zn, and Cu in saliva while Molybdenum Vanadate method was used to estimate the level of salivary P. Descriptive statistics, bivariate, and Pearson’s correlation analysis were done. Results Children with ECC demonstrated a higher Ca levels than caries-free children with a highly signifcant difference (P<0.001) whereas higher levels of P, Zn and Cu were found in caries-free children compared to children with ECC. A positive correlation to ECC was observed in salivary Ca while the correlation was negative in salivary P, Zn, and Cu. Conclusions Considerable variations in the levels of salivary elements between ECC and caries free children were noted. The correlation between salivary P, Zn, and Cu and ECC was negative and more studies are needed to determine the maximum effcacy of these elements in preventing ECC in children.