Children with severe early childhood caries: Streptococci genetic strains within carious and white spot lesions

Kenneth Gilbert, Raphael Joseph, Alex Vo, Trusha Patel, Samiya Chaudhry, Uyen Nguyen, Amy Trevor, Erica Robinson, Margaret Campbell, John McLennan, Farielle Houran, Tristan Wong, Kendra Flann, Melissa Wages, Elizabeth A. Palmer, John Peterson, John Engle, Tom Maier, Curtis A. Machida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: Mutans streptococci (MS) are one of the major microbiological determinants of dental caries. The objectives of this study are to identify distinct MS and non-MS streptococci strains that are located at carious sites and non-carious enamel surfaces in children with severe early childhood caries (S-ECC), and assess if cariogenic MS and non-cariogenic streptococci might independently exist as primary bacterial strains on distinct sites within the dentition of individual children. Design: Dental plaque from children (N=20; aged 3-6) with S-ECC was collected from carious lesions (CLs), white spot lesions (WSLs) and non-carious enamel surfaces. Streptococcal isolates (N=10-20) from each site were subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to identify MS, and arbitrarily primed-PCR for assignment of genetic strains. Primary strains were identified as ≥50% of the total isolates surveyed at any site. In several cases, strains were characterized for acidurity using ATP-driven bioluminescence and subjected to PCRdetermination of potentialMSvirulence products. Identification of non-MS was determined by 16S rRNAgene sequencing. Results: Sixty-four independent MS or non-MS streptococcal strains were identified. All children contained 1-6 strains. In many patients (N=11), single primary MS strains were identified throughout the dentition. In other patients (N=4), primary MS strains were identified within CLs that were distinct from primary strains found on enamel. Streptococcus gordonii strains were identified as primary strains on enamel or WSLs in four children, and in general were less aciduric than MS strains. Conclusions: Many children with S-ECC contained only a single primary MS strain that was present in both carious and non-carious sites. In some cases, MS and non-cariogenic S. gordonii strains were found to independently exist as dominant strains at different locations within the dentition of individual children, and the aciduric potential of these strains may influence susceptibility in the development of CLs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25805
JournalJournal of Oral Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Distribution of genotypic mutans
  • Oral streptococci
  • Severe early childhood caries
  • Streptococcal strains
  • Streptococcus gordonii
  • Streptococcus mutans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry (miscellaneous)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Children with severe early childhood caries: Streptococci genetic strains within carious and white spot lesions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this