Collection Methods for Oral Samples

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The oral microbiome is an exciting and expanding area of research. The oral microbiome is essential to health because it can cause oral and systemic diseases. A comprehensive understanding of the interactions of oral microbiota with environmental and host factors may help disentangle the role the oral microbiome plays in health and disease. Understanding the effects of sample collection methods, storage medium, and storage conditions is essential for proper planning and conducting of these studies.

Oral Microbiome

The oral microbiome (Oral microbiota or Oral microflora) refers to the microorganisms found in the human mouth. It is the second largest microbial community in the body after the gut. The mouth has two types of surfaces on which bacteria can colonize: the hard and soft tissues of the teeth and the oral mucosa. The teeth, tongue, cheeks, gingival sulcus, tonsils, hard palate, and soft palate provide a rich environment in which microorganisms can flourish. The normal temperature of the oral cavity on average is 37℃ without significant changes, which provides bacteria a stable environment to survive. Saliva also has a stable pH of 6.5-7, the favorable pH for most species of bacteria. It keeps the bacteria hydrated, and it also acts as a medium for delivering nutrients to the microbes. The oral microbiome is crucial in maintaining oral and general health. Because of the ease of sample collection, it is the most useful. Studying the microbiome so far.

Oral and systemic diseases associated with the oral microbiome.Fig.1 Oral and systemic diseases associated with the oral microbiome. (Willis, 2020)

Oral Sample Collection

Establishing an optimal oral sample collection scheme is the key to oral microbiological research. The timing of oral sample collection is an important consideration when designing oral microbiome studies as the oral microbiome composition may vary throughout the day and the timing of food intake may affect the oral microbiome composition. Oral specimen collection is convenient, minimally invasive, and fast. At present, oral specimen collection methods are varied. Recent studies have shown that the composition of oral bacteria varies depending on the location of the mouth. To study the relationship between oral microbiome composition and general health status, the entire oral microbiome, rather than the local microbiome, needs to be collected.

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  1. Willis, J.R.; Gabaldón, T. The human oral microbiome in health and disease: from sequences to ecosystems. Microorganisms. 2020, 8(2): 308.

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