Dental caries is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Cariogram is a well-recognized algorithm-based software program based on different caries-related risk factors and intended to aid clinicians in performing more objective and consistent dental caries risk assessments. This type of approach precedes the diagnosis of caries and allows the dentist to identify at-risk patients and then take appropriate preventive measures before caries develop further. One of the etiological factors favoring the development of dental caries is the mutans streptococci. These acidogenic dental plaque inhabitants can be effectively antagonized by the activity of bacteriocins released by the probiotic Streptococcus salivarius M18 (salivarius M18). Moreover, salivarius M18 after colonizing the human oral mucosa produces the enzymes dextranase and urease that are able to counteract plaque formation and saliva acidity, respectively. Seventy-six subjects at high risk of dental caries were randomized and then either treated or not treated for 90 days with an oral formulation containing the oral probiotic salivarius M18 (Carioblis(®)). The results indicate that the use of salivarius M18 increases the chances of avoiding new dental caries development in children, and its application could be proposed as a new tool in the dentist's armory to be adopted in subjects considered at high risk on the basis of their Cariogram outcome.
Keywords: BLIS M18; Streptococcus mutans; Streptococcus sobrinus; bacteriocins; caries prediction; dextranase; plaque; salivary pH; urease.