Human Oral Microbial Communities in States of Hyposalivation

Currently Enrolling Subjects

Landscape ecology examines the relationships between the spatial arrangement of different landforms and the processes that give rise to spatial and temporal patterns in local community structure. The spatial ecology of the microbial communities that inhabit the human body—and in particular, those of the mouth—deserve greater attention. Important questions include what defines the size of a population (i.e., ‘‘patch’’) in a given body site, what defines the boundaries of distinct patches within a single body site, what are the factors that explain boundaries, population composition, and patterns across populations, and where and over what spatial scales within a body site are gradients detected.

Individuals with chronic hyposalivation, or chronically low salivary flow, experience a disproportionate number, as well as an atypical distribution of dental cavities. Bacteria have long been understood to play an important role in cavity formation, as well as in maintenance of health. In this project, we aim to understand how salivary flow may influence the composition of oral microbial communities, and to identify features of these communities that distinguish states of health from the acute and chronic states of hyposalivation and the subsequent development of dental cavities. Ultimately, we hope these microbial features may serve as the basis for diagnostics, therapeutics, or prognostics.

Relevant Publications

The Landscape Ecology and Microbiota of the Human Nose, Mouth, and Throat

Diana M. Proctor, David A. Relman (2017) Cell Host & Microbe.



R01: Hyposalivation and the Human Oral Microbiome [NIH RePORT]