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Open AccessArticle

Analysing the Relationship between Nutrition and the Microbial Composition of the Oral Biofilm—Insights from the Analysis of Individual Variability

1
Institute of Medical Biometry and Medical Statistics, Faculty of Medicine and Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Stefan-Meier-Str. 26, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany
2
Center for Dental Medicine, Department of Operative Dentistry and Periodontology, Faculty of Medicine and Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Hugstetter Straße 55, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany
3
Clinic for Conservative and Preventive Dentistry, Center of Dental Medicine, University of Zurich, Plattenstrasse 11, CH-8032 Zurich, Switzerland
4
Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Department of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Faculty of Medicine and Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Hermann-Herder-Straße 11, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Antibiotics 2020, 9(8), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9080479
Received: 11 June 2020 / Revised: 27 July 2020 / Accepted: 31 July 2020 / Published: 4 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oral Microorganisms and Inactivation of Oral Biofilms)
The influence of a change in nutrition on the oral microbiota are discussed in literature, but usually only changes of population mean values are reported. This paper introduces simple methods to also analyse and report the variability of patients’ reactions considering data from the culture analysis of oral biofilm. The framework was illustrated by an experimental study exposing eleven participants to different nutrition schemes in five consecutive phases. Substantial inter-individual variations in the individual reactions were observed. A new coherence index made it possible to identify 14 instances where the direction of individual changes tended to coincide with the direction of the mean change with more than 95% probability. The heterogeneity in variability across different bacteria species was limited. This allowed us to develop recommendations for sample sizes in future studies. For studies measuring the concentration change of bacteria as a reaction to nutrition change, the use of replications and analysis of the variability is recommended. In order to detect moderate effects of a change in nutrition on the concentration of single bacterial taxa, 30 participants with three repetitions are often adequate. Insights into the relationship between nutrition and the microbial composition can be helpful for the development of dietary habits that promote the establishment of a healthy microbial flora and can therefore prevent the initiation of oral diseases such as caries and periodontitis. View Full-Text
Keywords: microbiome analysis; bacterial concentration; oral biofilm; culture technique; inter-individual variation; sample size; study planning microbiome analysis; bacterial concentration; oral biofilm; culture technique; inter-individual variation; sample size; study planning
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Vach, K.; Al-Ahmad, A.; Anderson, A.; Woelber, J.P.; Karygianni, L.; Wittmer, A.; Hellwig, E. Analysing the Relationship between Nutrition and the Microbial Composition of the Oral Biofilm—Insights from the Analysis of Individual Variability. Antibiotics 2020, 9, 479.

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