Comparison of immunological and microbiological characteristics in children and the elderly with or without dental caries

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study was to determine the relationships among early childhood caries (ECC), root caries (RC), the quantity of Streptococcus mutans in saliva, and the concentrations of total and specific secretory IgA (sIgA). Saliva samples were collected from 70 children, 3-4 yr of age, with and without ECC, and from 43 adults, ≥60 yr of age, with and without RC. The decayed, missing, and filled teeth (dmft) and decayed, missing, and filled surfaces (dmfs) scores of each child, and the root decayed and filled teeth (RDFT) and root decayed and filled surfaces (RDFS) scores of each elderly subject, were determined. The S. mutans levels, total sIgA, and specific sIgA against two virulence antigens of S. mutans in saliva were analysed using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and ELISAs. The quantity of S. mutans was significantly higher in caries-positive subjects within the two populations than in the caries-free subjects; and a positive correlation was found between the quantity of S. mutans and the dmft, dmfs, RDFT, and RDFS scores. In addition, the salivary total sIgA was significantly higher in children with severe early childhood caries (SECC) and in the elderly subjects with RC. Moreover, although the S. mutans level was significantly higher, the concentrations of specific sIgA against S. mutans antigens were significantly lower in samples from elderly subjects than in samples from children. These results support the concept that S. mutans is positively associated with ECC and RC. Furthermore, the levels of S. mutans-specific antibodies in saliva are too low to prevent infection with cariogenic bacteria and to inhibit development of ECC and RC.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yang Y; Li Y; Lin Y; Du M; Zhang P; Fan M
  • Start Page

  • 80
  • End Page

  • 87
  • Volume

  • 123
  • Issue

  • 2