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Researchers examine composition of oral microbiome in children

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada/COLUMBUS, Ohio, U.S.: The composition of the oral microbiome is critically important in oral health and disease, but the patterns and mechanisms underlying community assembly have not been comprehensively studied. Researchers from the Ohio State University in Columbus have recently filled the existing research gap by examining the composition of the oral bacterial microbiome in a cohort of children evenly distributed between the ages of 1 and 12 years. The results suggest that maturing oral microbial communities in children follow a common pattern.

In total, 252 participants took part in the cross-sectional study. The researchers collected extensive metadata on the participants’ oral and general health, fluoride exposure and oral hygiene habits. They then prepared DNA from saliva and supragingival and subgingival plaque and analyzed factors such as community richness and diversity, species prevalence and relative abundance. They found that species richness increased with age in both supragingival and subgingival plaque and showed an upward trend in saliva. Among the clinical variables they examined, only age, plaque levels and presence of calculus showed a significant effect on microbial community composition.

The data shows that maturing oral microbial communities in children become more complex with advancing age and include a stable core of major species. They also include a shared group of early species that are lost or decrease in abundance with advancing age and another group that is gained with age. The researchers noted that longitudinal data are needed to confirm the results of the study.

The 97th General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, held in conjunction with the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research and the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research, took place on June 19–22 in the West Building of the Vancouver Convention Centre.

An oral presentation of the findings of the study, titled “Assembly of the human oral microbiome age 1 to 12,” was held on June 20, 2019.

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