Background The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the possible correlation between recurrent respiratory infections (RRIs), gingival health and the secretion rates of salivary immunoglobulins (Igs) in institutionalized (I) and non-institutionalized (NI) individuals with Down's syndrome (DS).
Methods Stimulated parotid saliva was collected from nine I and 14 NI subjects with DS. Salivary flow rate, secretion rates of total salivary IgM, IgG and IgA, and the incidence of RRIs were determined. Gingival health was recorded by using the plaque index, the gingival index and the percentage of bleeding surfaces (BS).
Results The mean salivary flow rate and parotid Ig secretion rates in the I group were 25% of those of the NI group. The prevalence of RRIs in the I group was more than twice that in the NI group. Oral hygiene and gingival health were significantly better in the NI group.
Conclusions The lower parotid Ig secretion rates in I individuals with DS might be a possible factor involved in their susceptibility to recurrent infections compared to NI subjects with DS.