In order to evaluate changes in salivary counts of cariogenic bacteria and relate these to trends in caries experience, stimulated saliva was collected from a 20% random sample of 12-yr-old residents of Reykjavik, Iceland (252 children) in 1991 under conditions consistent with those of a survey conducted in 1984. The mean and median counts of salivary mutans streptococci and lactobacilli remained similar in the two studies. However, the frequency distribution at lower levels of mutans streptococci differed significantly between 1991 and 1984, e.g. in the present study 25.8% of the children had
Caries experience, oral hygiene and caries-related salivary parameters were recorded in a 20% representative sample of 12-year-old schoolchildren in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1991. The majority of the children was re-examined 3 years later in 1994. Trends in prevalence of caries and salivary bacteria were assessed by comparison with an analogous earlier longitudinal study (1984-87). Mean DFS values for 12-year-olds were 12.1 and 4.1, for 15-year-olds 23.3 and 11.3 in the earlier and later study, respectively. Reduction in DFS was 66% and 52% for the respective age groups. The decline was most pronounced in the group with low caries prevalence. Trends in caries experience were paralleled by salivary bacteria. The mean caries scores and frequency distributions of 15-year-olds in 1994 closely resembled those of 12-year-olds a decade earlier, suggesting a delay rather than a true fall in caries prevalence.