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Open Access Research article

Supragingival plaque microbial analysis in reflection to caries experience

Alaa Mannaa12*, Anette Carlén3, Guglielmo Campus45 and Peter Lingström15

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Cariology, Institute of Odontology, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Box 450, Gothenburg, SE-405 30, Sweden

2 Department of Conservative Dental Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, P.O Box 80209, Jeddah, 21589, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

3 Department of Oral Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Odontology, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Box 450, Gothenburg, SE-405 30, Sweden

4 Dental Institute, University of Sassari, Viale San Pietro 43/C, Sassari, I-07100, Italy

5 WHO Collaborating Centre of Milan for Epidemiology and Community Dentistry, Via Beldiletto 1/3, Milan, I-20142, Italy

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BMC Oral Health 2013, 13:5  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-13-5

Published: 8 January 2013



Dental caries develops as a result of the metabolism of carbohydrates by cariogenic bacteria present in a complex biofilm. The present study aimed to examine if bacteria in pooled supragingival plaque samples quantified using a “checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization” based panel of caries-related bacteria, could reflect the caries experience in a manner similar to saliva samples analysed using a chair-side method in a previous investigation.


A total of 86 mothers and their children aged 4–6 years and 12–16 years old participated. Caries experience (DMFT/dmft; Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth for permanent and primary teeth) was registered clinically and radiographically. Caries was recorded at the D3 level (caries into dentine). The D/d component was divided into three categories. A pooled supragingival plaque sample per participant was obtained from posterior approximal sites. Analyses of 15 bacterial species were performed using the checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridisation technique.


No significant relationships were found between the bacterial scores and DMFT/dmft nor D/d groups.


Unlike the saliva samples and the chair-side method, interproximal pooled plaque samples analysed using the “checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization technique” did not reveal any significant relations between the bacterial counts and the caries experience.