Sex-specific differences in the salivary microbiome of caries-active children

Stephanie Ortiz, Elisa Herrman, Claudia Lyashenko, Anne Purcell, Kareem Raslan, Brandon Khor, Michael Snow, Anna Forsyth, Dongseok Choi, Tom Maier, Curtis A. Machida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Dental caries is a chronic disease affecting young children and has multi-factorial risk factors. The purpose of this work was to identify sex-specific differences in the salivary microbiota within caries-active children. Design: Saliva specimens were collected from 85 children (boys: 41; girls: 44) between the ages of 2-12 years. Salivary microbial DNA was subjected to PCR amplification using V3-V4 16S rDNA-specific primers and next-generation sequencing. Results: Significant sex differences in salivary microbiota were found between caries-active boys versus caries-active girls. Neisseria flavescens, Rothia aeria, and Haemophilus pittmaniae were found at significantly higher levels in caries-active boys. In contrast, Lactococcus lactis, Selenomonas species HOT 126, Actinobaculum species HOT 183, Veillonella parvula, and Alloprevotella species HOT 473 were found at significantly higher levels in caries-active girls. Conclusion: We have found the acid-generating, cariogenic Lactococcus lactis to be much more abundant in caries-active girls than caries-active boys, indicating that this microorganism may play a more significant role in shaping the cariogenic microbiome in girls. In addition, in caries-active girls, Alloprevotella species HOT 473 was the only species that exhibited both significant sex differences (4.4-fold difference; p=0.0003) as well as high abundance in numbers (1.85% of the total microbial population).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1653124
JournalJournal of Oral Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Salivary microbiome
  • children
  • dental caries
  • oral microbiome
  • sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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