PCR detection of Streptococcus mutans and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans in dental plaque samples from Haitian adolescents

Walter J. Psoter, Yao Ge, Stefanie L. Russell, Zhou Chen, Ralph V. Katz, Germain Jean-Charles, Yihong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Streptococcus mutans and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans are oral pathogens associated with dental caries and periodontitis, respectively. The aim of this study was to determine the colonization of these two microorganisms in the dental plaque of a group of Haitian adolescents using two different polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods, standard PCR, and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assays. Fifty-four pooled supra-gingival plaque samples and 98 pooled sub-gingival plaque samples were obtained from 104 12- to19-year-old rural-dwelling Haitians. The total genomic DNA of bacteria was isolated from these samples, and all participants also received caries and periodontal examinations. Caries prevalence was 42.2%, and the mean decayed, missing, and filled surface (DMFS) was 2.67 ± 5.3. More than half of the adolescents (53.3%) experienced periodontal pockets (Community Periodontal Index score ≥3). S. mutans was detected in 67.3% by qPCR and 38.8% by PCR of the supra-gingival plaque samples (p<0.01), and 36.6% by qPCR and 8.1% by PCR of the sub-gingival samples (p<0.01). A. actinomycetemcomitans was detected in 85.1% by qPCR and 44.0% by PCR of the sub-gingival samples (p<0.01), but the prevalence was similar, 67.3% by qPCR and 59.2% by PCR, in the supra-gingival plaque samples. Neither age nor gender was significantly correlated to the bacterial colonization. The results demonstrated a moderate-to-high prevalence of S. mutans and A. actinomycetemcomitans in the Haitian adolescent population, and qPCR is more sensitive than standard PCR in field conditions. These findings suggest that qPCR should be considered for field oral epidemiologic studies and may be necessary in investigations having major logistic challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-469
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Oral Investigations
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans
  • Dental caries
  • Haitian adolescents
  • PCR
  • Periodontitis
  • Streptococcus mutans
  • qPCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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