We studied the effect of oral infection with cariogenic micro-organisms on alveolar bone loss and root surface caries subsequent to gingivectomy in rats. Thirty-six rats were fed diet MIT 200 (67% sucrose); one-half, the controls, had antibiotics added to the diet. At ages 18, 19, and 21 days, the experimental group was orally infected with streptomycin-resistant Streptococcus sobrinus (mutans) 6715 and Actinomyces viscosus M-100. At age 30 days, all animals were subjected to a gingivectomy on maxillary and mandibular left quadrants. The experimental group was re-inoculated at age 36 days. Animals were killed seven weeks after surgery. Jaws were stained, and planimetric measurements of exposed root surface area and caries on lingual/palatal surfaces of 1st and 2nd molars were made from video images with a computer/digitizer. Compared with the non-operated contralateral quadrants, gingivectomy significantly increased exposed root surface area in the maxilla and in the mandible in both the control and experimental groups. Oral inoculation significantly increased exposed root surface in mandibular (but not maxillary) quadrants which had received a gingivectomy, but had no effect on non-gingivectomized quadrants. There was no caries in the control group, whereas ten rats in the experimental group had root surface caries lesions, all in quadrants which had received a gingivectomy. This rat model should prove useful in further studies of root surface caries.
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