Gloria Yañez


PURPOSE: To compare salivary characteristics in 3 and 4 year-old Head Start children with and without visible caries.

METHODS: This case-control study was performed on 84 healthy 3 and 4 year-old Head Start children. After consent and inclusion criteria were met, each child was screened and assigned to one of two test groups based on their caries status. Group 1 consisted of children with no visible evidence of caries, although non-visible caries may have been present. Group II consisted of children with visible evidence demonstrating three or more carious lesions. Each child's unstimulated and stimulated whole saliva samples were collected and analyzed using a saliva test kit. The unstimulated saliva samples were analyzed for consistency, flow rate (USSFR), and pH. The stimulated saliva samples were analyzed for flow rate (SSFR), pH, and buffering capacity. The statistical methods used were the Mann-Whitney U test and 2 x 2 χ2 contingency test at the significance level α = 0.05 to evaluate statistical differences.

RESULTS: There were no statistically significant differences in any of the salivary characteristics between the groups with and without visible caries. Nor was there a statistically significant difference between the genders within the individual groups. However, there was a statistically significant difference between the 3 and 4 year-olds, with the 4 year-olds in Group I having statistically higher USS pH (p=0.005) and SS pH (p=0.012), and the 4 years-old's in Group II having statistically higher SSFR (p=0.011). Finally, the findings of the combined groups were similar to the individual groups, with no statistically significant differences between the genders and the 4 year-olds having statistically higher results in USS pH (p=0.005), SSFR (p=0.011), and SS pH (p=0.006).

CONCLUSIONS: There were no differences between the groups with and without visible caries, although there were some differences in the combined and individual groups.

LLU Discipline

Pediatric Dentistry


Pediatric Dentistry


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

John Peterson

Second Advisor

Richard Grabowsky

Third Advisor

Jay Kim

Fourth Advisor

George Lessard

Fifth Advisor

Joni Stephens

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Oral Health -- child; Dental Care -- child; Dental Caries -- diagnosis; Dental Caries -- prevention and control; Salivary Glands.



Page Count

x; 49 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives