Oral nitrate levels significantly reduce pathogenic bacteria

This study tested the saliva of 21 healthy subjects to measure nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, lactate, pH levels and bacterial taxonomy through rRNA sequencing. Results showed that nitrate had a significant effect on the bacterial composition of in vitro oral communities and that in the presence of nitrate, oral communities can change rapidly.

They conclude that nitrate could be an ecological factor stimulating health-associated oral bacterial genera, with the potential to decrease caries, periodontitis and halitosis. Furthermore, they suggest that ‘nitrate could be used as a prebiotic (e.g., vegetable extracts or nitrate combined with anti-oxidants), and nitrate-containing vegetables tested in dietary interventions, in order to stimulate eubiosis or reduce dysbiosis in the oral cavity’. Species-level analyses and strains within species would be the next step in terms of future studies.

Rosier, B.T., Buetas, E., Moya-Gonzalvez, E.M. et al. Nitrate as a potential prebiotic for the oral microbiome. Sci Rep 10, 12895 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69931-x

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