Literature Review of External Influences on the Oral Microbiome



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The oral cavity is home to a unique and diverse group of bacterial species. Together, these bacterial species make up the oral microbiome. The development of the oral microbiome is such that once reaching adulthood, there are a unique set of predominant bacterial species that characterize the oral microbiome. The dispersion of these bacterial species is greatly influenced by the microanatomy of the oral cavity. Ultimately, there is a delicate homeostatic balance maintained in the oral cavity which contains diverse microbial fauna. Despite this balance, there are many external influences that can rapidly alter the composition of the oral microbiome. Orthodontic treatments, which are extremely prevalent in society, have the ability to alter oral microbial composition in a matter of weeks even with regular oral hygiene. This alteration is also associated with a rise in oral pathogenic bacteria potentially resulting in compromised dental health. Many lifestyle factors (such as diet) also play a key role in the composition of the oral microbiome. High sugar diets have been linked with many dental complications and there is a vast amount of microbial evidence that further supports this. An area of study to investigate is the development of biofilms which host many of these anaerobic pathogenic bacteria that disrupt the “normal” oral microbial composition. By directly comparing the resistance of oral planktonic bacteria and oral biofilms, a greater understanding of how biofilms are able to cause dental complications can be gained.