Differences in the mouths of youth born with HIV may increase their risk of dental decay

July 10, 2018, Forsyth Institute

A team of scientists from The Forsyth Institute, a global leader in oral health research, in collaboration with the NIH-funded Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS), has published the results of a new study indicating that differences in the mouth bacteria of youth born with HIV may increase their risk of cavities. The researchers found that HIV-infected youth, compared with uninfected youth, had lower numbers of Corynebacterium, a microbe that is abundant in dental plaque of healthy individuals.

"At the Forsyth Institute, we encourage our scientists to explore the unknown and equip them with the resources and partnerships to do so," said Dr. Wenyuan Shi, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer at the Forsyth Institute. "This group of researchers did exactly that. When there was limited information on the potential role of in HIV-infected youth, they spearheaded a study to fill in these research gaps and understand more globally how systemic diseases, or their treatment, may affect the microbes that help keep us healthy or cause disease."

The researchers followed two groups of youth: those born with HIV and a comparison group of youth born to HIV-infected mothers who were not infected. The youth were enrolled in the PHACS AMP study, which investigates the long-term outcomes of HIV infection and its treatment among children who acquired HIV from their mothers. This research demonstrated that bacterial composition was similar in both testing groups, implying that pediatric HIV infection, and its treatment, are not causing large-scale imbalances in the bacteria found in . The HIV-infected youth, however, had fewer corynebacteria in their dental plaque. This type of bacterium can help prevent the lactic acid produced by cavity-causing bacteria from reaching healthy teeth, which may help protect teeth from dental decay. Thus, the lower amounts of corynebacteria may explain why the HIV-positive youth also had more cavities.

"This is critical information, as we are now beginning to have a better understanding of the potential role of the in youth born with HIV. It is exciting to think that these bacteria could be involved in protecting teeth from cavities—this may guide us in developing new therapies to prevent dental decay in these youth," said Dr. Bruce Paster, Senior Member of Staff at The Forsyth Institute and Professor in Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

The research team hopes to take this study one step further, comparing the oral microbiome of the two groups in this study with HIV-negative youth who have never been exposed to HIV. This will help researchers understand the role of HIV exposure in determining the makeup of the oral microbiome. Additionally, the research will help reveal how species such as Corynebacterium might keep some oral diseases at bay with the ultimate goal of understanding treatment, risk assessment and prevention in HIV-infected youth.

The Forsyth Institute partnered with researchers from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, University of California San Francisco, and Tulane University School of Medicine on this study.

Explore further: The Forsyth Institute expands key human microbiome database

More information: undefined undefined et al. Oral microbiota in youth with perinatally acquired HIV infection, Microbiome (2018). DOI: 10.1186/s40168-018-0484-6

Related Stories

The Forsyth Institute expands key human microbiome database

March 6, 2018
A team of researchers from The Forsyth Institute, a global leader in oral health research, today announced they have added over 80 species to generate the expanded Human Oral Microbiome Database (eHOMD), an online index of ...

Potential impact of bacteria on tooth decay

March 5, 2018
Dental decay is a significant public health concern for children and adults. In fact, it is the most common childhood disease. In a new study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, an interdisciplinary team ...

Researchers close in on new ways to prevent child tooth decay

September 27, 2016
Around 2,700 Victorian children aged 0-6 years are hospitalised each year for preventable dental conditions—most of them requiring treatment of dental decay under general anaesthetic.

Researchers discover cellular messengers communicate with bacteria in the mouth

May 8, 2018
A new UCLA-led study provides clear evidence that cellular messengers in saliva may be able to regulate the growth of oral bacteria responsible for diseases, such as periodontitis and meningitis.

Study links changes in oral microbiome with metabolic disease

March 1, 2017
A team of scientists from The Forsyth Institute and the Dasman Diabetes Institute in Kuwait have found that metabolic diseases, which are characterized by high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity—leads to changes ...

Health of primary teeth an early predictor of adult teeth

January 8, 2018
Do children really need their baby teeth? Many believe that primary teeth aren't all that important. After all, they typically fall out by age 12, and new, adult teeth take their place.

Recommended for you

Drug-filled, 3-D printed dentures could fight off infections

April 25, 2018
Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. denture-wearing population suffer frequent fungal infections that cause inflammation, redness and swelling in the mouth.

Bacteria boost antifungal drug resistance in severe childhood tooth decay

April 25, 2018
Early childhood caries, a form of severe tooth decay affecting toddlers and preschoolers, can set children up for a lifetime of dental and health problems. The problem can be significant enough that surgery is the only effective ...

Absence of a transcription factor halts tooth development in mid-stride

April 11, 2018
Amjad Javed, Ph.D., and University of Alabama at Birmingham colleagues have found a key role in tooth development for the transcription factor Specificity protein 7, or Sp7.

Toothpaste alone does not prevent dental erosion or hypersensitivity

March 14, 2018
The rising prevalence of dental erosion and dentin hypersensitivity has led to the emergence of more toothpastes that claim to treat these problems. While no such toothpaste existed 20 years ago, today, many such brands are ...

Study: Absence of key protein, TTP, rapidly turns young bones old

March 10, 2018
The absence of a protein critical to the control of inflammation may lead to rapid and severe bone loss, according to a new University at Buffalo study.

Sipping hot fruit teas can lead to tooth erosion

February 26, 2018
An investigation by scientists at King's College London into why some people suffer tooth erosion while others don't has found that it's not just what they eat and drink, but how they eat and drink, that increases their chances ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.