The oral microbiome in health and disease and the potential impact on personalized dental medicine

Oral Dis. 2012 Mar;18(2):109-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-0825.2011.01851.x. Epub 2011 Sep 9.


Every human body contains a personalized microbiome that is essential to maintaining health but capable of eliciting disease. The oral microbiome is particularly imperative to health because it can cause both oral and systemic disease. The oral microbiome rests within biofilms throughout the oral cavity, forming an ecosystem that maintains health when in equilibrium. However, certain ecological shifts in the microbiome allow pathogens to manifest and cause disease. Severe forms of oral disease may result in systemic disease at different body sites. Microbiomics and metagenomics are two fields of research that have emerged to identify the presence of specific microbes in the body and understand the nature of the microbiome activity during both health and disease. The analysis of the microbiome and its genomes will pave the way for more effective therapeutic and diagnostic techniques and, ultimately, contribute to the development of personalized medicine and personalized dental medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibiosis
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Dental Caries / microbiology
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Metagenome / genetics*
  • Metagenomics
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Periodontitis / complications
  • Periodontitis / drug therapy
  • Periodontitis / microbiology
  • Prebiotics
  • Precision Medicine / methods*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Saliva / microbiology
  • Saliva / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Prebiotics