The objective of this study was to determine the effect of aged and young cheddar cheese with and without added sucrose on dental caries and the associated recovery of implanted Streptococcus mutans. Very little caries was observed in rats consuming cheese without sucrose. There was an increase in caries in rats fed cheeses with 20% sucrose, but this increase was not significant. There was significantly greater caries activity in rats fed standard diets containing 20% or 5% sucrose (SLS or MIT 305) than in rats fed cheeses containing 20% sucrose. Rats fed cheese or powdered diets containing sucrose had significantly higher frequency of recovery and higher levels of S. mutans infection than did rats fed cheese containing no sucrose. This study confirms the low cariogenic potential and possible cariostatic activity of cheddar cheese in rats. Since cheddar cheese with sucrose did not significantly interfere with S. mutans implantation, the cariostatic mechanism is apparently unrelated to a direct antimicrobial effect on S. mutans.