A coupling sugar preparation (sucrose-free [CSSF]), which contains a mixture of sugars, oligosaccharides, and oligosaccharides terminated at the reducing end by sucrose, served as a substrate for growth and acid production by Streptococcus mutans 6715. However, CSSF was a poor substrate for cellular aggregation, glucosyltransferase activity, plaque formation, and adherence of cells to glass surfaces. In the presence of sucrose, CSSF inhibited glucosyltransferase activity and adherence of cells. The substitution of CSSF for sucrose in a rat diet significantly reduced caries score. Furthermore, rats fed diets containing sucrose and CSSF had significantly fewer carious lesions than did rats fed a sucrose diet.