Salivary bacteria and oral health status in medicated and non-medicated children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Clin Oral Investig. 2013 Nov;17(8):1863-7. doi: 10.1007/s00784-012-0876-0. Epub 2012 Nov 8.


Objectives: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a childhood neurological disorder. Studies have shown that children with ADHD are more prone to caries than those without. The study investigated children diagnosed with ADHD, both with and without pharmacological intervention, and the following: DMFT\dmft, plaque index (PI), mutans streptococci (MS) levels, lactobacilli (LB) levels, salivary flow, salivary buffer capacity, oral hygiene, and diet.

Study design: DMFT/dmft index, PI, MS and LB levels, salivary flow, and salivary buffer capacity were examined in three groups of children: ADHD1-diagnosed with ADHD with no pharmacological intervention (N = 31), ADHD2-treated with medications for ADHD (N = 30), and a healthy control group (N = 30). Diet and oral health habits were assessed through questionnaires completed by parents.

Results: There were no differences in the DMFT/dmft index, MS and LB counts, salivary buffer capacity, and parent reported diet and oral health behavior between the three groups. Children with ADHD demonstrated a higher plaque index.

Conclusions: Although children with ADHD did not report different diet and oral health behavior from children without ADHD, this group had significantly higher levels of plaque than the control group, which combined with hyposalivation may be a risk factor for caries at an older age.

Clinical relevance: Medicated and non-medicated ADHD children were similar to control children in their caries rate, MS and LB counts, salivary buffer capacity, and diet and oral health behavior. They differed in the amount of plaque found on their teeth. As a group, ADHD children demonstrated hyposalivation compared with the control.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Oral Health*
  • Saliva / microbiology*