The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of an alcohol diet on Streptococcus of the mutans group and on dental caries in the oral cavity of rats. Forty animals were divided into 3 groups according to the following liquid diets: 20% ethanol solution (Alcohol Group, AG), 27% sucrose solution (Isocaloric Group, IG), and water (Control Group, CG). After 56 days, samples were collected and plated on Mitis Salivarius Bacitracin agar to assess the number of colony forming units (CFU/mL) of Streptococcus of the mutans group. The animals were sacrificed and the jaws were removed in order to assess the occurrence of dental caries on the smooth and occlusal surfaces using stereomicroscopy. The data were submitted to ANOVA and Tukey test. The average numbers of CFU/mL (10³) were: 8.17 (AG), 9.78 (IG), and 5.63 (CG). There was no significant difference among the groups for the occurrence of occlusal caries. Regarding smooth surface caries, in the upper jaw, the caries number in the IG (1.58) was similar to that in the AG (2.06) and in the CG (1.14), and the number of caries in the AG was higher than in the CG; in the lower jaw there was significant difference among the 3 groups: AG (1.14), IG (2.00) and CG (0.43). The diets with the alcohol and sucrose solutions presented a tendency of increasing the colonization by Streptococcus of the mutans group and of increasing the occurrence of smooth surface dental caries in rat molars when compared to the control diet.
Ethanol; Streptococcus mutans; Dental caries; Alcoholism