2. The Human Oral Microbiome


Jump to: navigation, search

Courtney Kimble-Badgett and Erica Drummond




The human oral cavity makes for a perfect environment for microbes to inhabit. What with the constant flow of nutrients, epithelial debris, as well as oral secretions, a variety of different microbes are in heaven! The human oral microbiome is among one of the most studied. There are about 600 species of prokaryote identified based on their 16s rRNA. Some inhabitants in our mouths include but are not limited to streptococci, lactobacilli, staphylococci, corynebacteria as well as anaerobic bacteria. You can find a complete list on the Human Oral Microbiome Database (link below in references). Did you know that at birth our mouths were completely sterile? We have obtained our oral microbiomes from our environment, our mother's milk and the food we consume.

A great deal of microbes in our mouths are commensal. Its obvious that they benefit from us but they also help with synthesizing vitamins, they take up space and resources preventing other harmful bacteria (pathogens) from doing so, and our oral flora also create an environment that is unfavorable to pathogens with the use of inhibitory substances like fatty acids. Even with this win-win situation, these microbes also cause us a great deal of pain and discomfort. These oral microbes are known to cause abscesses, dental caries, gingivitis, periodontal disease and most annoyingly bad breath (also known as halitosis or oral malodour)! Since our outside environments influence the composition of our oral microbiome, which are responsible for halitosis? How can we prevent their smelly activity?

Section 1:

contributions by the diet

Section 2:

contributions by alcohol intake


good oral hygiene tips and tricks for maintaining a nice oral microbiome and fresh breath.

Participation in group:

  • Courtney: focus on how the diet can contribute to bad breath.
  • Erica: focus on how alcohol intake can contribute to bad breath.
  • Both: research normal flora in oral microbiome and what generally causes bad breath (introduction), as well as how to maintain a healthy mouth (conclusion).

Interesting Links

Human Oral Microbiome Database

Oral Microbiome: Spit Reveals A Lot About What Lives In Your Mouth by Science Daily

Personal tools