Objective: Most drugs used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder treatment can affect saliva secretion. Methylphenidate is the most commonly prescribed drug for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and was approved for use in children over the age of 6 years. However, limited information is available on the use and long-term adverse effects of methylphenidate in preschool children (< 6 years). We explored the effects of methylphenidate on salivary flow rate and salivary buffering capacity during treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Methods: Children who were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder by expert psychiatrists, under medical treatment, and those who had no other systemic diseases were included. Stimulated saliva samples were collected before prescription of methylphenidate and after 15 days, 30 days and 3 months of regular drug intake. The samples were analysed for Streptococcus mutans, as well as salivary buffering capacity and salivary flow rate. Twenty children (age range, 6–15 years) with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder were included.
Results: The mean salivary buffering capacity value at month 3 was significantly lower than that at baseline and at day 15. Regarding the distribution according to salivary flow rate, statistically significant differences were found between baseline and the first month and between baseline and month 3 These results indicate that methylphenidate consumption in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder leads to reduced salivary buffering capacity and salivary flow rate after 3 months of follow-up.
Conclusion: Parents should be informed about necessary preventive dental treatments to minimize the negative oral and dental effects of long-term drug use in children.