WVU Dental Health and Pregnancy Study


Through our partnership with the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan, we have had the opportunity to publish and present our scientific findings. Here are a few of our more recent articles:

- McNeil DW, Crout RJ, Marazita ML. Oral health in Appalachia. In Appalachian Health and Well-Being. (RL Ludke and PJ Obermiller, eds), Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, pp 275-294, 2012.

- Olson JC, Cuff CF, Lukomski S, Lukomska E, Canizales Y, Wu B, Crout RJ, Thomas JG, McNeil DW, Weyant RJ, Marazita ML, Paster BJ, Elliott T. Use of 16S ribosomal RNA gene analyses to characterize the bacterial signature associated with poor oral health in West Virginia. BMC Oral Health 11(1): 7, doi:10.1186/1472-6831-11-7, 2011. PMID: 21362199; PMCID PMC3061962

Bacteria in subgingival plaque samples from twelve participants in two independent West Virginia dental-related studies were characterized using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and Human Oral Microbe Identification Microarray (HOMIM) analysis. Phylogenetic differences were found between bacterial communities obtained from plaque of participants with low or high oral disease. Low disease contained a high frequency of Veillonella and Streptococcus, with a moderate number of Capnocytophaga. High disease exhibited substantially increased bacterial diversity and included a large proportion of Clostridiales cluster bacteria (Selenomonas, Eubacterium, Dialister). Clostridiales were repeated colonizers in plaque associated with high oral disease, providing evidence that the oral environment is somehow influencing the bacterial signature linked to disease.

In conclusions, atypical bacterial signatures were found to be associated with high oral disease in West Virginians and provided evidence that the oral environment influenced this signature. This provides insight into the unique oral environment found in West Virginians.

- Shaffer JR, Feingold, E, Wang XJ, Cuenco KT, Weeks DE, DeSensi RS, Polk DE, Wendell S, Weyant RJ, Crout R, McNeil D, Marazita ML. Heritable Patterns of Tooth Decay in the Permanent Dentition: Principal Components and Factor Analyses BMC Oral Health 2012, 12:7, doi:10.1186/1472-6831-12-7

Dental caries is the result of a complex interplay among environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors, with distinct patterns of decay likely due to specific etiologies. We used two methods to extract patterns of decay from surface-level caries data in order to generate novel phenotypes with which to explore the genetic regulation of caries. 128 tooth surfaces of the permanent dentition were scored as carious or not by intra-oral examination for 1,068 participants aged 18 to 75 years from 664 biological families. The three strongest caries patterns identified captured variation represented by DMFS index (correlation, r = 0.97), pit and fissure surface caries (r = 0.95), and smooth surface caries (r = 0.89). However, together, these three patterns explained only 37% of the variability in the data, indicating that a priori caries measures are insufficient for fully quantifying caries variation. Some patterns identified were heritable (h2 = 30-65%, p = 0.043-0.006), whereas other patterns were not, indicating both genetic and non-genetic etiologies of individual decay patterns. Overall, this study demonstrates the utility of methods for extracting caries patterns from surface-level data and reinforces the complexity of dental caries etiology. Because risk factors that manifest as specific decay patterns may otherwise go unobserved with respect to global or other a priori caries phenotypes, the use of patterns as novel phenotypes may assist in understanding the multifactorial nature of dental caries.

You can view our most up to date bibliography of publications, posters, abstracts, presentations, and student works HERE.

Thank you so much for your interest in our scholarly activity.