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Preliminary characterization of the oral microbiota of Chinese adults with and without gingivitis

Shi Huang1, Fang Yang45, Xiaowei Zeng1, Jie Chen1, Rui Li2*, Ting Wen2, Chun Li2, Wei Wei2, Jiquan Liu2, Lan Chen2, Catherine Davis3 and Jian Xu1*

Author Affiliations

1 BioEnergy Genome Center, Qingdao Institute of BioEnergy and BioProcess Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, Shandong 266101, China

2 Procter & Gamble Innovation Center, Beijing 101312, China

3 Procter & Gamble Winton Hill Business Center, Cincinnati, OH 45224 USA

4 Department of Stomatology, Qingdao Municipal Hospital, Shandong, Qingdao 266011, China

5 Department of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics, Guanghua School and Hospital of Stomatology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510055, China

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BMC Oral Health 2011, 11:33  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-11-33

Published: 12 December 2011



Microbial communities inhabiting human mouth are associated with oral health and disease. Previous studies have indicated the general prevalence of adult gingivitis in China to be high. The aim of this study was to characterize in depth the oral microbiota of Chinese adults with or without gingivitis, by defining the microbial phylogenetic diversity and community-structure using highly paralleled pyrosequencing.


Six non-smoking Chinese, three with and three without gingivitis (age range 21-39 years, 4 females and 2 males) were enrolled in the present cross-sectional study. Gingival parameters of inflammation and bleeding on probing were characterized by a clinician using the Mazza Gingival Index (MGI). Plaque (sampled separately from four different oral sites) and salivary samples were obtained from each subject. Sequences and relative abundance of the bacterial 16 S rDNA PCR-amplicons were determined via pyrosequencing that produced 400 bp-long reads. The sequence data were analyzed via a computational pipeline customized for human oral microbiome analyses. Furthermore, the relative abundances of selected microbial groups were validated using quantitative PCR.


The oral microbiomes from gingivitis and healthy subjects could be distinguished based on the distinct community structures of plaque microbiomes, but not the salivary microbiomes. Contributions of community members to community structure divergence were statistically accessed at the phylum, genus and species-like levels. Eight predominant taxa were found associated with gingivitis: TM7, Leptotrichia, Selenomonas, Streptococcus, Veillonella, Prevotella, Lautropia, and Haemophilus. Furthermore, 98 species-level OTUs were identified to be gingivitis-associated, which provided microbial features of gingivitis at a species resolution. Finally, for the two selected genera Streptococcus and Fusobacterium, Real-Time PCR based quantification of relative bacterial abundance validated the pyrosequencing-based results.


This methods study suggests that oral samples from this patient population of gingivitis can be characterized via plaque microbiome by pyrosequencing the 16 S rDNA genes. Further studies that characterize serial samples from subjects (longitudinal study design) with a larger population size may provide insight into the temporal and ecological features of oral microbial communities in clinically-defined states of gingivitis.

oral microbiota; gingivitis; saliva; plaque; pyrosequencing