This study was conducted to establish associations among the Candida carriage rate, the diversity of Candida species carried and the different caries status of preschool children.
Sixty-one children between 2 and 5 years of age were examined by a single expert examiner and were divided into three groups, the caries-free, moderate caries and severe caries groups, according to the criteria of the International Caries Detection and Assessment System II (ICDAS). Saliva samples were obtained from the members of each group and were plated on Sabouraud agar plates to assess the Candida carriage rates. CHROMagar Candida medium was used for the preliminary screening. Biochemical testing or PCR/sequencing was conducted to identify the different Candida species in the samples. The differences observed were considered significant if the p value was <0.05.
The Candida carriage rate and the number of species of this fungus carried were higher in the group with the highest level of caries severity (p < 0.05). Whereas Candida albicans was the most predominant Candida species in the saliva of all of the children, C. dubliniensis was identified only in the most caries-affected group in addition to other rare species of Candida non-albicans.
A high salivary Candida carriage rate and the presence of specific species of this fungus (such as C. albicans and C. dubliniensis) appear to be related to the severity of caries experienced by preschool children.