To evaluate the association between dental health status and levels of cariogenic bacteria in teenagers and the
influence of behaviours and socio-demographic background on levels of bacteria.
Study Design: A
cross-sectional population-based sample of 13-year-old adolescents (112 females and 78 males, total 190) was examined. The number
of decayed, missing and filled surfaces (DMFS), plaque and hygiene index were recorded according to the WHO criteria. The saliva
samples were collected in a sterile container and then analysed by culture on Mitis Salivarius Bacitracin (MSB) agar for mutans
Streptococci and on Man Rogosa Sharp (MRS) agar for Lactobacilli. The levels of bacteria were expressed as the number of colonies
forming units per millilitre of saliva (CFU/ml). Associations between levels of mutans Streptococci and Lactobacilli and dental health
were estimated by odds ratio (OR) and 95 confidence interval (95CI) using unconditional logistic regression.
No mutans Streptococci were detected in 53.2 of the adolescents but 22.6 presented 10
CFU/ml. For Lactobacilli, these values were, respectively 43.7 and 34.7. After adjustment for gender and social class,
the OR (95 CI) for DMFS >5 was 8.66 (3.57-21.02) if mutans Streptococci 10 CFU and 2.11 (0.96-4.64) if
Lactobacilli 10 CFU.
This data allow us to conclude that hygiene habits and dental visits are not associated
with high levels of cariogenic bacteria, but high scores of DMFS were found in adolescents with high levels of mutans Streptococci and
lower parents' education.
Vol.15 – n.3/2014
Harvard: M. Relvas, C. Coelho, C. Velazco Henriques, E. Ramos (2014) "Cariogenic bacteria and dental health status in adolescents: the role of oral health behaviours", European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 15(3), pp281-287. doi:
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