Q: Which bacteria are mainly involved in caries formation?
microbiology, caries, bacteria, dental hygiene exam prep

Q: Which bacteria are mainly involved in caries formation?

Q: Which bacteria are mainly involved in caries formation?

(A). Streptococcus salivarius
(B). Streptococcus mutans
(C). Streptococcus sanguis
(D). Porphyromonas gingivalis

microbiology, caries, bacteria, dental hygiene exam prep
Mini Boards Reviews for the National + Local Anesthesia + CSCE Dental Hygiene Boards Exams!

Keyword: caries

The mouth is colonized by 200 to 300 bacterial species, but only a limited number of these species participate in dental decay (caries) or periodontal disease.

  • Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sanguis both are involved in the early stages of tooth demineralization. With further lowering of the pH, mutans become more predominant. Therefore, Streptococcus mutans are mainly responsible for caries.
  • Various lactobacilli are associated with the progression of lesions.
  • Streptococcus salivarius is present in the mouth and upper respiratory tract a few hours after birth.
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis is associated with chronic periodontitis, not caries.

Answer: (B). Streptococcus mutans

Knowing all this now, we may dispute that Streptococcus sanguis is also a good answer, and it is! Today I purposely chose this question to prove a point. All (or most) answer choices on the Dental Hygiene Board Exams (NBDHE, NDHCE, CSCE, WREB) can be correct to a certain degree. The key here is to understand which one is the BETTER choice in the given situation. This requires a lot of thinking! But we have to keep practicing in choosing the BEST answer choice and not the ONLY answer.

Here is an analogy – you are planning your camping trip and you need to rent a car. If the price of the rentals were all the same, would you choose a (A). Convertible, (B). SUV, (C). Sedan, or (D). Moving truck? All of the vehicles can get you to your destination with your camping gear. But the SUV would be MOST ideal because you could ride with your friends and load the trunk with everything you need. Also if it is a four-wheel drive, you can be safer in different weather conditions. I hope this illustrates that sometimes we just need to adjust our thinking to the examination even if all answer choices make sense.

This part of adjusting your thinking for the Dental Hygiene Board Exams (NBDHE, NDHCE, CSCE, WREB) actually is not pleasant. I feel like we are sacrificing a little bit of ourselves to fit into this standardized test. But the good news is that if you pass the Dental Hygiene Board Exams (NBDHE, NDHCE, CSCE, WREB), you won’t have to do it again. We just need to be strategic for just a little bit of time until you are done!

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(Disclaimer: StudentRDH is NOT affiliated with the NBDHE, NDHCE, CSCE, CDCA, WREB.)

Written by
Claire Jeong, RDH, MS
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