Influence of sample type and collection method on Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus spp. counts in the oral cavity
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Objectives: This study compared three methods of Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus spp. detection in the oral cavity: saliva swab (SS)-sample of stimulated saliva collected with swab; whole saliva (WS)-sample of 2 ml of stimulated saliva; and the dental plaque method (DP)-plaque sample of all dental surfaces.Methods: Thirty children were included in this study. In the first 15 children, the SS and WS methods were carried out before the dental plaque collection, and in the following 15, the sequence was inverted to evaluate possible interference of the methods sequence. The samples were diluted and inoculated in SB20 and Rogosa agar, respectively for S. mutans and Lactobacillus spp., at 37 degrees C for 48 h.Results: the results (cfu/mL) of S. mutans were analysed by the statistical Friedman's test. The levels of Lactobacillus spp. were analysed by descriptive statistics due to the high proportion of zero counts in the culture. In the first sequence of methods, the number of S. mutans counted for the SS method was inferior to DP and WS (P < 0.05), and the results for the WS and DP methods were similar. The detection of Lactobacillus spp. was observed just by the WS (100 %) and SS (14.3 %) methods. However, in the second experimental set the number of S. mutans detected by the DP method was similar to those of the SS and WS, however, the WS method showed higher values than SS (P < 0.05). A greater number of Lactobacillus spp. was detected by the WS method (100 %), followed by SS (55.5 %) and DP (33.3 %).Conclusions: the dental plaque collection and the sample of stimulated whole saliva presented similar results in the S. mutans count. The most suitable method to detect the Lactobacillus spp. level in the oral cavity is the stimulated whole saliva method. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.