A blood isolate of Streptococcus mutans strain TW871 shows relatively low homology with MT8148, a reference oral isolate strain, and lacks the serotype-specific polysaccharide antigen, suggesting that other cell-surface structures correlate with cariogenicity. We compared cariogenicity of TW871 with MT8148 (serotype c) and blood isolate TW964 (serotype f) in rats. Strain TW871 showed significantly lower cariogenicity than MT8148 or TW964 and expressed significantly lower sucrose-independent cellular adhesion to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite and dextran-binding activity than strain MT8148. Strains TW871 and TW964 showed a defect in the gbpA gene by Southern hybridization analysis, while sequencing analysis revealed gbpC variation in TW871. These results suggest that variation in GbpC may alter cellular adherence properties and can be correlated with the cariogenicity of S. mutans in this strain.