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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Equine saliva components during mastication, and in vivo pH changes in the oral biofilm of sound and carious tooth surfaces after sucrose exposure

Lundstrom, Torbjorn; Lingstrom, Peter; Wattle, Ove; Carlen, Anette; Birkhed, Dowen


Background The role of saliva composition and dietary sugar in development of infundibular caries in equine cheek teeth is not fully understood. This study analysed electrolyte and urea concentrations in saliva in relation to different forage and measured pH changes after sucrose application in vivo in sound and carious cheek teeth. Results Forage type had no effect on the equine saliva electrolyte concentrations, which varied considerably both intra- and inter-individually. Chewing resulted in increased values for all electrolytes except bicarbonate. Compared with stimulated human saliva, horse saliva after mastication, contained higher amounts of potassium, calcium and bicarbonate, and less phosphate. The in vivo pH measurements showed a lower resting pH and a more pronounced pH drop after sucrose application in carious teeth compared to sound teeth. Conclusions No large differences were found between the composition of equine saliva and human saliva. A more pronounced acidogenicity was found for the carious than sound teeth. Thus, the caries process in equine cheek teeth seems to follow the same pattern as in human teeth, caused by acid production by oral microorganisms after sugar consumption.


Caries; Electrolytes; Equine; Horse; pH drop; Saliva; Sucrose; Teeth; Urea

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2020, Volume: 62, number: 1, article number: 21
Publisher: BMC

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Clinical Science

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