background: Tongue controls bolus during mastication, keeps the bolus in the oral cavity and generates pressure to direct the bolus through the hypopharynx. Decrease in tongue movement and strength can increase the oral and pharyngeal food residues. Food residues have the potential to increase the risk of dental caries. The aim of this study is to investigate the correlation between tongue strength in down syndromes and the prevalence of dental caries.
Method: Sixteen Down syndromes were participated. None of them had dysphagia and they had normal diet. The tongue strength was measured by Iowa Oral Performance Instrument (IOPI) and dental caries were assessed by Decayed – Missing –Filled Teeth Index (DMFT). A speech therapist performed the education and investigation of tongue strength. A dentist did the dental examination and filled the DMFT form.
Results: The mean age of participants were 11.06 (SD=2.83). Most of participants were female (n=14, 87.50%). All of the participants had mixed dentition. The mean of tongue strength was 10.23KPas (SD= 7.08). There was no correlation between the tongue strength and the total number of DMF plus dmf according to Pearson correlation (p=0.96; r= -0.01).
Conclusion: Tongue strength was very low in these children compared with the reports in literature. There was no correlation between the tongue strength and number of DMF and dmf The main reason is that dental problems such as caries are multi factorial problems. So that other factors except poor tongue strength can cause caries.