Background: Oral microorganisms contribute to oral health and disease, but few have studied how infant feeding methods affect their establishment. Methods: Infant (n = 12) feeding records and tongue and cheek swabs were collected within 48 h of birth, and after 2, 4, and 6 mo. DNA was extracted from samples, bacterial and fungal amplicons were generated and sequenced using Illumina MiSeq, and sequences were analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME) and Statistical Analysis System (SAS) to evaluate differences over time and among breast-fed, formula-fed, mixed-fed, and solid food-fed infants. Results: Considering all time points, breast milk-and mixed-fed infants had lower oral species richness than solid food-fed infants (p = 0.006). Regardless of feeding mode, species richness was lower at birth than at other time points (p = 0.006). Principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) of unique fraction metric (UniFrac) distances indicated that bacterial communities were impacted by feeding method (p < 0.005). Considering all time points, breast-fed infants had higher Streptococcus, while formula-fed infants had higher Actinomyces and Prevotella. Regardless of feeding mode, Propionibacterium, Porphyromonas, Prevotella, Gemella, Granulicatella, Veillonella, Fusobacterium, Leptotrichia, Neisseria, and Haemophilus increased with age, while Cloacibacterium and Dechloromonas decreased with age. Oral fungi were detected in infants but were not impacted by diet. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that the establishment of oral bacteria depends on dietary composition and age. More research is necessary to determine whether this affects risk of oral caries and other health outcomes later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3400
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 5 2020


  • Feeding method
  • Infant health
  • Oral bacteria and fungi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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