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Int J Dent. 2011;2011:953412. doi: 10.1155/2011/953412. Epub 2011 Nov 29.

Susceptibility to dental caries and the salivary proline-rich proteins.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 940 S. L. Young Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.

Abstract

Early childhood caries affects 28% of children aged 2-6 in the US and is not decreasing. There is a well-recognized need to identify susceptible children at birth. Caries-free adults neutralize bacterial acids in dental biofilms better than adults with severe caries. Saliva contains acidic and basic proline-rich proteins (PRPs) which attach to oral streptococci. The PRPs are encoded within a small region of chromosome 12. An acidic PRP allele (Db) protects Caucasian children from caries but is more common in African Americans. Some basic PRP allelic phenotypes have a three-fold greater frequency in caries-free adults than in those with severe caries. Early childhood caries may associate with an absence of certain basic PRP alleles which bind oral streptococci, neutralize biofilm acids, and are in linkage disequilibrium with Db in Caucasians. The encoding of basic PRP alleles is updated and a new technology for genotyping them is described.

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