Association of Streptococcus mutans harboring bona-fide collagen binding proteins and Candida albicans with early childhood caries recurrence

Early childhood caries (ECC) recurrence occurs in approximately 40% of treated cases within one year. The association of Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans with the onset of ECC is well known. Also, S. mutans strains harboring collagen-binding proteins (Cbps) avidly bind to collagen-rich dentin and are linked to increased caries incidence. Here, we investigated the presence of Cbp+ S. mutans and C. albicans in saliva and dental plaque of children with varying caries statuses, as well as the salivary microbiome of these children.

In this cross-sectional study, 143 children who were caries-free, treated for ECC with no signs of recurrence after 6 months, or treated for ECC and experiencing recurrence within 6 months following treatment were enrolled. Co-infection with C. albicans and S. mutans, especially Cbp+ S. mutans, was strongly associated with caries recurrence. Subjects of the recurrence group infected with Cbp+ S. mutans showed a greater burden of C. albicans and of Mutans streptococci in dentin than those infected with Cbp S. mutans.

Microbiome analysis revealed that Streptococcus parasanguinis was overrepresented in the caries recurrence group. Our findings indicate that Cbp+ S. mutans and C. albicans are intimately associated with caries recurrence, contributing to the establishment of recalcitrant biofilms.

Authors: B.A. Garcia, N.C. Acosta, S.L. Tomar, L.F.W. Roesch, J.A. Lemos, L.C.F. Mugayar, J. Abranches