The impact of dental treatment on the salivary cortisol levels of children with severe early childhood caries
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To compare salivary cortisol levels of caries-free children with those of children with severe early childhood caries (S-ECC) before and 3 months after comprehensive dental treatment.
Thirty children with S-ECC were matched with 30 caries-free children from middle income families with college-educated working mothers. Early-morning saliva samples were collected from the children using the passive drool method. Post-treatment saliva samples were collected 3 months after completion of treatment in the S-ECC group. Salivary cortisol levels were analysed using electrochemiluminescence immunoassay.
Salivary cortisol levels of caries-free children were significantly lower than both the pre-treatment and post-treatment levels of children with S-ECC (F = 26.221, p < 0.0001). The pre-treatment cortisol levels of children with S-ECC were significantly higher than the post-treatment levels (t = 2.588, p = 0.015). No significant differences in cortisol levels were observed between genders or between children treated over multiple visits under local analgesia and in a single visit under general anaesthesia.
Dental treatment significantly reduced the salivary cortisol levels of children with S-ECC, however, the post-treatment levels remained significantly higher than those of caries-free children.
KeywordsEarly childhood caries Salivary cortisol Dental treatment
- American Academy on Pediatric Dentistry; American Academy of Pediatrics. Policy on early childhood caries (ECC): classifications, consequences, and preventive strategies. Pediatr Dent. 2008;30(Suppl 7):40–3.Google Scholar