Response of Salivary Microbiota to Caries Preventive Treatment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children

Emily Skelly, Newell W. Johnson, Kostas Kapellas, Jeroen Kroon, Ratilal Lalloo, Laura Weyrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A once-annual caries preventive (Intervention) treatment was offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander schoolchildren—a population with disproportionately poorer oral health than non-Indigenous Australian children—in the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) of Far North Queensland (FNQ), which significantly improved their oral health. Here, we examine the salivary microbiota of these children (mean age = 10 ± 2.96 years; n = 103), reconstructing the bacterial community composition with high-throughput sequencing of the V4 region of bacterial 16S rRNA gene. Microbial communities of children who received the Intervention had lower taxonomic diversity than those who did not receive treatment (Shannon, p < 0.05). Moreover, the Intervention resulted in further decreased microbial diversity in children with active carious lesions existing at the time of saliva collection. Microbial species associated with caries were detected; Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus gasseri, Prevotella multisaccharivorax, Parascardovia denticolens, and Mitsuokella HMT 131 were significantly increased (p < 0.05) in children with severe caries, especially in children who did not receive the Intervention. These insights into microbial associations and community differences prompt future considerations to the mechanisms behind caries-preventive therapy induced change;  important for understanding  the long-term implications of like treatment to improve oral health disparities within Australia. Trial registration: ANZCTR, ACTRN12615000693527. Registered 3 July 2015,

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1830623
JournalJournal of Oral Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dentistry (miscellaneous)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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