An in vivo investigation of associations between saliva properties, caries prevalence and potential lesion activity in an adult UK population

J Dent. 2008 Apr;36(4):294-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2008.01.009. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Objective: To investigate associations between prevalence and activity of intra-oral incipient, carious lesions and salivary properties tested using the Saliva Check kit (GC Corp., Belgium).

Methods: With ethical approval, 58 subjects with >16 teeth underwent clinical/radiographic examination. Conventional decayed, missing, filled teeth/decayed, missing, filled surfaces (DMFT/DMFS) indices and a more recently developed visual index described by International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS) were used to ascertain caries prevalence. Potential lesion activity was scored using an Ekstrand visual index. Saliva properties tested included hydration, resting pH, stimulated flow and buffering capacity. Spearman's rank correlation was used to analyse data.

Results: No saliva parameters correlated significantly with DMFT/DMFS caries prevalence scores (D3 threshold). The resting pH correlated negatively and significantly with the total number of lesions (r=-0.267, p=0.043), with ICDAS scores >1 (r=-0.333, p=0.011) and with mild lesions (r=-0.263, p=0.046). A negative correlation was found between saliva buffering capacity and the potential activity of moderate lesions (ICDAS 3 and 4; r=-0.227, p=0.035).

Conclusions: There appeared to be a correlation between the resting pH of saliva and the prevalence of early lesions as well as the saliva buffering capacity and the potential lesion activity of moderate lesions. A difference was shown between lesion prevalence calculated using traditional DMFT(S) D3 versus the ICDAS D1 thresholding.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Buffers
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Dental Caries / pathology*
  • Dental Caries Activity Tests
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Saliva* / chemistry
  • Saliva* / metabolism
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Buffers
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic