Salivary Microbiomes Differ Between Caries-Active Boys and Girls

Dentistry Today
Photo by Graham Beards.


Photo by Graham Beards.

Dental caries represents one of the most common chronic diseases found in young children, and the multi-factoral disease involves complex interactions of microbiological, genetic, and socioeconomic factors, according to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), including significant differences in the microbiota between boys and girls.


For example, the researchers said, women exhibit higher caries incidence than men, but whether this disparity can be extended to children has been unclear. The researchers, then, sought to determine gender-specific differences in the salivary microbiome within caries-active children by collecting and testing saliva specimens from 41 boys and 44 girls between the ages of 2 and 14. 

Next, the researchers isolated microbial DNA using the QIAsymphony isolation robot and subjected it to PCR amplification using V3-V4 16S rDNA-specific primers and next-generation sequencing with high-throughput illumine sequencing. Oral microbiota libraries and profiles were generated by the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and subjected to further biostatistical analyses at OHSU. 

Significant differences in oral microbiota were found between caries-active boys and girls. The primary microbial genera associated with caries in young children include Actinobaculum, Atopobium, Aggregatibacter, and Streptococcus. Actinobaculum, Veillonella parvula, and the acid-generating Lactococcus lactis, all associated with dental caries, were found in much higher prevalence in caries-active girls than boys, indicating that they may play a more significant role in girls in shaping the cariogenic microbial environment.

Stephanie Ortiz of OHSU presented the study, “Gender-specific Differences in the Salivary Microbiome of Caries-active Children,” during the 97th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research on June 21 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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