Microbiomes of Site-Specific Dental Plaques from Children with Different Caries Status

Infect Immun. 2017 Jul 19;85(8):e00106-17. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00106-17. Print 2017 Aug.


The oral microbiota associated with the initiation and progression of dental caries has yet to be fully characterized. The Human Oral Microbe Identification Using Next-Generation Sequencing (HOMINGS) approach was used to analyze the microbiomes of site-specific supragingival dental plaques from children with different caries status. Fifty-five children (2 to 7 years of age) were assessed at baseline and at 12 months and grouped as caries free (CF), caries active with enamel lesions (CAE), and caries active with dentin carious lesions (CA). Plaque samples from caries-free tooth surfaces (PF) and from enamel carious lesions (PE) and dentin carious lesions (PD) were collected. 16S community profiles were obtained by HOMINGS, and 408 bacterial species and 84 genus probes were assigned. Plaque bacterial communities showed temporal stability, as there was no significant difference in beta diversity values between the baseline and 12-month samples. Irrespective of collection time points, the microbiomes of healthy tooth surfaces differed substantially from those found during caries activity. All pairwise comparisons of beta diversity values between groups were significantly different (P < 0.05), except for comparisons between the CA-PF, CAE-PE, and CA-PE groups. Streptococcus genus probe 4 and Neisseria genus probe 2 were the most frequently detected taxa across the plaque groups, followed by Streptococcus sanguinis, which was highly abundant in CF-PF. Well-known acidogenic/aciduric species such as Streptococcus mutans, Scardovia wiggsiae, Parascardovia denticolens, and Lactobacillus salivarius were found almost exclusively in CA-PD. The microbiomes of supragingival dental plaque differ substantially among tooth surfaces and children of different caries activities. In support of the ecological nature of caries etiology, a steady transition in community species composition was observed with disease progression.

Keywords: bacteria; biofilms; caries; children; dental plaque; microbiome; supragingival.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bifidobacterium / isolation & purification
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Caries / classification
  • Dental Caries / microbiology*
  • Dental Enamel / microbiology
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology*
  • Dentin / microbiology
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbiota*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Streptococcus / classification
  • Streptococcus / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus mutans / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus sanguis / isolation & purification


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S