Caries experience associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2005 Fall;30(1):3-7.


The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine whether children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) had a total caries experience that was equivalent to children without the disorder.

Methods: The test sample included children ages 6 to 10 years old diagnosed with ADHD by physicians at Duke University Medical Center. The control group also included healthy children 6 to 10 years old without the diagnosis of ADHD. A visual dental exam for caries was performed and a sample of whole, unstimulated saliva was collected. The parent/guardian of each participant completed a health/medication history and a questionnaire concerning the child's oral health and habits, daily routine, and demographic information.

Results: Wilcoxon and chi-square tests showed that children with ADHD have significantly more enamel caries in the primary and permanent dentitions and a significantly higher prevalence of total caries experience when compared to controls. There was no significant difference in whole saliva production between the ADHD children and the controls.

Conclusions: Dentists should be aware that children with ADHD are at higher risk for caries.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Child
  • Dental Caries / complications*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Saliva / drug effects
  • Saliva / metabolism