The adhesion and accumulation of oral streptococci on saliva-coated hydroxyapatite was examined in strains representing species that appear in initial plaque (Streptococcus sanguise FC1 and Streptococcus oralis C5) and in more mature plaque (Streptococcus gordonii G9B). Washed cells of strains FC1 and C5 did not attach better to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite than did strain G9B, suggesting that the degree of initial adhesiveness does not alone account for the temporal appearance of these bacteria in dental plaque. Growing cells of each strain were also examined for their ability to accumulate on saliva-coated hydroxyapatite. The addition of sucrose to the medium promoted the accumulation of strain G9B more than it promoted the accumulation of strains FC1 and C5. Sucrose also enhanced the accumulation of adhesion-defective mutants of each strain to levels similar to those of the respective parent strains. These results suggest that sucrose-dependent accumulation may facilitate the colonization of the tooth surface by these species of oral streptococci when adhesion is limited by reduced bacterial adhesiveness or limited pellicle-binding sites.