Oral health and dental anomalies in patients treated for leukemia in childhood and adolescence




This study was conducted to evaluate oral health and dental anomalies in children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and to compare results with those of a group of healthy children matched for sex and age.


Fifty-six children treated for ALL and 56 healthy controls were examined for dental anomalies, and data on decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) score, visible plaque (VPI), and gingival bleeding (GBI) indices, and saliva flow were collected. Mean age of all children treated for ALL was 5.3 ± 2.6 years at diagnosis and 11.8 ± 4.2 at evaluation. Thirty-two were males.


Forty-five treated children (80.4%) had at least one dental anomaly, and patients treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and bone marrow transplantation had the greatest mean number of dental anomalies (15.37 ± 15.03). Patients younger than 5 years at beginning of treatment were also more affected (P = 0.031). Children treated for ALL had a DMFT score of 1.9 ± 4.0, GBI of 26.5%, VPI of 72.0%, and mean saliva flow of 0.19 ml/min; healthy children had a DMFT score of 1.52 ± 3.5, GBI of 11.1%, VPI of 53.8%, and mean saliva flow of 0.27 ml/min.


The treatment of ALL causes a significant increase in the number of dental anomalies. Their GBI and VPI were also elevated. Changes in salivary glands during treatment did not affect saliva flow permanently. Follow-up of these patients by an oral health team is recommended. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2009;53:361–365. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.