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J Dent Res. 1993 Feb;72(2):508-16.

The association of mutans streptococci and non-mutans streptococci capable of acidogenesis at a low pH with dental caries on enamel and root surfaces.

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Department of Oral Microbiology, Forsyth Dental Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Coronal dental plaque from each of 12 caries-positive subjects (Group I) was pooled from "white spot" tooth surface areas and, separately, from sound surface areas; sound surface areas in each of 18 caries-free subjects (Group II) were sampled similarly. Two samples, one consisting of material from a root-surface lesion and another of plaque from a sound root-surface area, were obtained from each of another 10 subjects (Group III). The samples from Groups I and II were evaluated for: (1) pH-lowering potential in vitro with dispersed plaque suspensions, excess glucose supply, and a 60-minute test; (2) the levels of mutans streptococci (MS) and lactobacilli; and (3) the distribution of the predominant non-mutans streptococci (non-MS) according to their final pH in glucose broth; only microbial analysis was done for the Group III samples. The levels of the MS were generally positively associated with caries. A weaker positive association was found for the levels of those non-MS capable of acidogenesis at low pH (final pH < 4.4). The latter generally far outnumbered the MS in all types of samples. The levels of lactobacilli were nearly always very low. The pH-lowering potential (final pH and pH drop rate) was higher for plaque from "white spot" areas than for plaque from sound surface areas (Group I). The samples from caries-free subjects (Group II), however, exhibited a pH-lowering potential which was not significantly different from that of both types of samples from the caries-active subjects (Group I).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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