Nature reviews. Microbiology. 2024-02-01; 22.2: 89-104.

The oral microbiome: diversity, biogeography and human health

Baker JL, Mark Welch JL, Kauffman KM, McLean JS, He X

PMID: 37700024


The human oral microbiota is highly diverse and has a complex ecology, comprising bacteria, microeukaryotes, archaea and viruses. These communities have elaborate and highly structured biogeography that shapes metabolic exchange on a local scale and results from the diverse microenvironments present in the oral cavity. The oral microbiota also interfaces with the immune system of the human host and has an important role in not only the health of the oral cavity but also systemic health. In this Review, we highlight recent advances including novel insights into the biogeography of several oral niches at the species level, as well as the ecological role of candidate phyla radiation bacteria and non-bacterial members of the oral microbiome. In addition, we summarize the relationship between the oral microbiota and the pathology of oral diseases and systemic diseases. Together, these advances move the field towards a more holistic understanding of the oral microbiota and its role in health, which in turn opens the door to the study of novel preventive and therapeutic strategies.