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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 44-56

Saliva-The magical fluid of oral cavity

1 Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sathyabama Dental College and Hospital, Jeppiaar Nagar, Chennai-600 119, India
2 Associate professor, Department of Public Health Dentistry, ACPMDental College and Hospital, Sakri Road, Dhule, India

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Saliva and its composition or constituents may be excellent tools or biomarkers for caries riskassessment. Proper understanding of salivary status of an individual would serve as a valuablemarker for assessing the risk for development of dental caries. Bicarbonates, phosphates and ureaact to modulate the pH and the buffering capacity of saliva. Macromolecule proteins and mucinsserve to cleanse, aggregate, and/or attach oral microorganisms and contribute to dental plaquemetabolism. Calcium, phosphate and proteins work together as an antisolubility factor andmodulate demineralization and remineralization. Immunoglobulins and few enzymes provideantibacterial function. Salivary components work in concert in overlapping, multifunctional roles,which can be simultaneously beneficial and detrimental for the host. Results obtained out of severalresearches have shown that salivary flow rate is the strongest indicator of caries risk. Bufferingcapacity, specific slgA against streptococcus mutans, calcium/phosphate ratio have shown a weakto-moderate association with caries risk. Other constituents have not shown a significant associationwith dental caries risk. Furthermore, in areas where controversial reports are reported, studies haveto be conducted with appropriate methodology and study design in order to obtain conclusiveevidence. By doing so, saliva can be understood in a comprehensive way and can be used as avaluable caries risk assessment tool.

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