Objective: Early childhood caries (ECC) has become a prevalent public health problem among Chinese preschool children. The bacterial microflora is considered to be an important factor in the formation and progress of dental caries. However, high-throughput and large-scale studies of the primary dentition are lacking. The present study aimed to compare oral microbial profiles between children with severe ECC (SECC) and caries-free children.
Methods: Both saliva and supragingival plaque samples were obtained from children with SECC (n = 20) and caries-free children (n = 20) aged 3 to 4 years. The samples were assayed using the Human Oral Microbe Identification Microarray (HOMIM).
Results: A total of 379 bacterial species were detected in both the saliva and supragingival plaque samples from all children. Thirteen (including Streptococcus) and two (Streptococcus and Actinomyces) bacterial species in supragingival plaque and saliva, respectively, showed significant differences in prevalence between the two groups. Of these, the frequency of Streptococcus mutans detection was significantly higher in both saliva (p = 0.026) and plaque (p = 0.006) samples from the SECC group than in those from the caries-free group.
Conclusions: The findings of our study revealed differences in the oral microbiota between the SECC and caries-free groups Several genera, including Streptococcus, Porphyromonas, and Actinomyces, are strongly associated with SECC and can be potential biomarkers of dental caries in the primary dentition.