Microbial Ecology

, Volume 73, Issue 2, pp 492–503 | Cite as

The Oral Microbiome of Children: Development, Disease, and Implications Beyond Oral Health

  • Andres Gomez
  • Karen E. Nelson
Human Microbiome


In the era of applied meta-omics and personalized medicine, the oral microbiome is a valuable asset. From biomarker discovery to being a powerful source of therapeutic targets and to presenting an opportunity for developing non-invasive approaches to health care, it has become clear that oral microbes may hold the answer for understanding disease, even beyond the oral cavity. Although our understanding of oral microbiome diversity has come a long way in the past 50 years, there are still many areas that need to be fine-tuned for better risk assessment and diagnosis, especially in early developmental stages of human life. Here, we discuss the factors that impact development of the oral microbiome and explore oral markers of disease, with a focus on the early oral cavity. Our ultimate goal is to put different experimental and methodological views into perspective for better assessment of early oral and systemic disease at an early age and discuss how oral microbiomes—at the community level—could provide improved assessment in individuals and populations at risk.


Microbial ecology Oral microbiome Children Caries 



Research supported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01DE019665. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Human Biology and Genomic MedicineJ. Craig Venter InstituteLa JollaUSA

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