Development of the oral resistome during the first decade of life

Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 9;14(1):1291. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-36781-w.


Antibiotic overuse has promoted the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) with significant health and economic consequences. Genome sequencing reveals the widespread presence of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) in diverse microbial environments. Hence, surveillance of resistance reservoirs, like the rarely explored oral microbiome, is necessary to combat AMR. Here, we characterise the development of the paediatric oral resistome and investigate its role in dental caries in 221 twin children (124 females and 97 males) sampled at three time points over the first decade of life. From 530 oral metagenomes, we identify 309 ARGs, which significantly cluster by age, with host genetic effects detected from infancy onwards. Our results suggest potential mobilisation of ARGs increases with age as the AMR associated mobile genetic element, Tn916 transposase was co-located with more species and ARGs in older children. We find a depletion of ARGs and species in dental caries compared to health. This trend reverses in restored teeth. Here we show the paediatric oral resistome is an inherent and dynamic component of the oral microbiome, with a potential role in transmission of AMR and dysbiosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Child
  • Dental Caries* / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbiota* / genetics


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents