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Oral Microbiol Immunol. 1991 Jun;6(3):139-45.

Associations of microbiological factors and plaque index with caries prevalence and water fluoridation status.

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  • 1Eastman Dental Center, Rochester, New York.


Plaque indices, numbers of mutans streptococci, lactobacilli and total viable flora in plaque and saliva were assessed as part of a large-scale cross-sectional study designed to determine the factors that are associated with high caries activity in children. Subjects, 12 to 15 years old, residing in areas where the water supplies were either fluoridated (n = 140) or fluoride-deficient (n = 173) were studied. Mutans streptococci and lactobacilli numbers in saliva were positively correlated with plaque index. Plaque indices were significantly higher in the high-caries group than in the zero-caries group of the fluoride-deficient community. In the fluoridated community, there was no difference in the plaque index between the zero- or high-caries groups. In each community, pooled dental plaque and saliva harbored fewer mutans streptococci and lactobacilli in the zero-caries than the high-caries group. Greater numbers of mutans streptococci were found in the dental plaque and saliva of the zero-caries subjects in the fluoridated community than in the fluoride-deficient community, suggesting that a greater caries challenge can coexist with zero-caries status in the fluoridated community.

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