Caries prevalence associated with Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus in Japanese schoolchildren

Int J Paediatr Dent. 2012 Sep;22(5):342-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2011.01203.x. Epub 2012 Jan 8.


Background: Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus are known to be associated with dental caries in humans.

Aim: We used a polymerase chain reaction method to detect S. mutans and S. sobrinus in 128 Japanese schoolchildren and then compared their presence with the dental caries experience.

Design: Plaque samples were collected from all erupted tooth sites with a sterile toothbrush, and dental examinations were performed to determine the numbers of decayed and filled teeth in primary (dft) and permanent (DFT) dentition using the WHO caries diagnostic criteria. Fisher's PLSD test was employed to compare caries scores between combinations of the detected bacteria.

Results: Streptococcus mutans and S. sobrinus were present in 38.3% and 68.0%, respectively, whereas 14.8% were positive for S. mutans alone, 44.5% for S. sobrinus alone, and 23.5% for both S. mutans and S. sobrinus, with 17.2% negative for both. The DFT, dft, and total (DFT + dft) scores for subjects positive for both S. mutans and S. sobrinus were significantly higher than those positive for S. mutans alone (P < 0.05, in triplicate).

Conclusion: These results suggest that schoolchildren harbouring both S. mutans and S. sobrinus have a significant higher dental caries experience in both permanent and primary teeth as compared to those with S. mutans alone.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Dental Caries / microbiology
  • Dental Caries Activity Tests
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Microbial Interactions*
  • Prevalence
  • Streptococcus mutans / isolation & purification*
  • Streptococcus sobrinus / isolation & purification*