Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate Streptococcus mutans genotypes (GT) between mother and child (M-C) in a high caries risk cohort to explore the association with early childhood caries (ECC). Methods: Sixty-nine infants (each approximately one year old) had periodic oral examinations (dmfs) and microbial samples collected from dental plaque, saliva, and other oral surfaces. Their mothers had an examination and plaque collected. S mutans isolates were genotyped using repetitive extragenic palindromic-PCR (rep-PCR). Statistical analyses were conducted for associations of S mutans in M-C dyads with caries outcomes. Results: Twenty-seven S mutans genotypes (GT) from 3,414 isolates were identified. M-C were categorized as GT match (n equals 40) or no-match (n equals 29). When modeling the severity of ECC at 36 months (approximately four years old), the estimated dmfs in the match group was 2.61 times that of the no-match group (P=.014). Conclusions: Colonization of children with Streptococcus mutans genotypes that matched with mothers was shown to be highly associated with early childhood caries. Although the data suggest vertical transmission of S mutans in 40 of 69 children that shared GT with their mother, it is possible that other individuals transmitted the S mutans. Nonetheless, these findings support the importance of the mother's oral microbial status as a contributing influence to their children's oral health.