The levels of parotid salivary IgA and serum IgG antibodies from dental caries-resistant (CR) and caries-susceptible (CS) individuals to Streptococcus mutans antigens were determined. In general, the levels of salivary IgA and serum IgG antibodies to S. mutans antigens were significantly higher in CR subjects than in CS individuals. There were significantly higher levels of IgA2, but not IgA1, salivary antibodies to S. mutans whole cells in CR subjects than in CS individuals. These results led us to investigate the functional effects parotid saliva and sera containing these antibodies had on several factors associated with S. mutans virulence. Parotid saliva and sera from CR subjects significantly inhibited S. mutans growth, adherence, acid production, glucosyltransferase and glucose-phosphotransferase activities to a greater extent than saliva and sera from CS individuals. The data suggest that neutralization of S. mutans enzymes and inhibition of S. mutans virulence factors by saliva and serum may be responsible for the lower numbers of carious lesions in CR subjects.