This study identified bacteria associated with root caries in geriatric patients. Previous studies have found Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacillus species and Actinomyces species can be associated with root caries. We determined whether these species, along with four additional species, Streptococcus sanguinis, Veillonella parvula, Olsenella species and Selenomonas species, are present in higher concentrations on carious root surfaces compared to healthy control teeth.
Our analyses indicate S. mutans and Actinomyces species are contributors to root caries and Olsenella and Selenomonas species may play a minor role. We found two cases where increased colonization by Lactobacillus was associated with root caries, but in both cases the levels of Lactobacillus were low. Based on our findings, S. sanguinis does not appear to compete with S. mutans for colonization on root surfaces. Finally, Veillonella was the most informative of our species in predicting caries. In 8 of 9 cases where increased levels of V. parvula were detected, the teeth were carious.
Sponsored by the Host Microbiome Initiative