Associations between oral health, diet, and the oral microbiome in the black women's health study
Patel, Prabhesh Arun
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Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent oral pathologies worldwide. Indicators of periodontal disease include deep periodontal pockets, inflammation of gum tissue, and tooth loss. A complex interaction between chronic bacterial infection and inflammatory host response, as well as, genetic and environmental factors drive periodontal disease. Some environmental factors that may contribute to periodontal disease and poor oral health include chronic illness, poor nutrition, poor lifestyle choices, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. To date, there has been limited research on the associations of oral health, diet, and the oral microbiome. Even more scarce, is research that includes members of the Black community, who are often disproportionally impacted by illness and disease. Here we investigated the genus-level relative abundance of oral bacteria across different categories of tooth loss, red meat consumption, and smoking status. Our study included saliva samples from 203 women from the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS). Shotgun sequencing technique was used to identify DNA sequences of the bacteria in our mouth rinse samples. We found that relative abundance of genus Treponema presented as an increasing dose response trend through the highest level of tooth loss. Lactobacillus presented the highest relative abundance when participants had no teeth remaining. We also found genus Capnocytophaga presented highest among those in the lowest quartile of red meat consumption and never smoking status, indicating a potential association with a healthier lifestyle. While this thesis proposes a novel investigation, larger longitudinal studies are needed to further investigate and define the magnitude of the associations between tooth loss, red meat consumption, smoking status, and oral bacterial relative abundance.