Objectives: To examine the flow rate and composition of unstimulated whole saliva and of serum in children with newly diagnosed insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and to compare these with values for a group of healthy controls.
Setting: Diabetic Department of a University Hospital in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Subjects and methods: The test group was made up of 10 recently diagnosed child patients with IDDM, aged 4-15 years and free of other systemic disease. Ten healthy children aged 5-17 years served as controls. Children were clinically examined before unstimulated saliva was collected over a 5 minute period and blood samples taken. Saliva and serum measurements included glucose, total proteins, albumin and immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG).
Results: No significant difference was seen in salivary flow rate between the two groups. Significantly greater concentrations of glucose were seen in saliva and serum in children with IDDM. Neither total protein nor albumin differed significantly between the two groups. Salivary IgA concentration was higher in the test group as was serum IgG.
Conclusions: Findings in this sample suggest that changes in salivary composition may, together with estimated glucose levels, play a helpful diagnostic role in the early stages of IDDM in some children.