The primary bacteria involved in the pathogenesis of caries is Streptococcus mutans, but many other bacteria have also been implicated, including S sobrinus, Actinomyces sp, and Lactobacillus sp.
High levels of cariogenic bacteria are indicative of active caries process and are associated with increased risk of new caries development
Plaque is composed of salivary proteins that adhere to teeth, as well as bacteria and their byproducts.
Plaque harbors the bacteria that initiate the demineralization process.
Adequate plaque control can reduce the likelihood of developing dental caries.
S mutans is concentrated in the pits and fissures of teeth, so the grooved surfaces of the molars are the most common site for caries.
The virulence patterns of Strep mutans vary with the strain, and families usually have the same strains. The type of S mutans cannot be modified, but the number of bacteria present can be altered.
The following methods can be used to decrease the number of bacteria and minimize caries:
S mutans is transmitted from the primary caregiver to infant by saliva.
Transmission rates increase when parents: