Oral microbiota of patients with phenylketonuria: A nation-based cross-sectional study


  • M. Bingöl
  • A. Cardilli
  • A.C. Bingöl
  • U. Löber
  • C. Bang
  • A. Franke
  • T. Bartzela
  • S. Beblo
  • E. Mönch
  • S. Stolz
  • A.S. Schaefer
  • S.K. Forslund
  • G.M. Richter


  • Journal of Clinical Periodontology


  • J Clin Periodontol


  • AIM: The oral microenvironment contributes to microbial composition and immune equilibrium. It is considered to be influenced by dietary habits. Phenylketonuria (PKU) patients, who follow a lifelong low-protein diet, exhibit higher prevalence of oral diseases such as periodontitis, offering a suitable model to explore the interplay between diet, oral microbiota and oral health. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted 16S rDNA sequencing on saliva and subgingival plaque from 109 PKU patients (ages 6–68 years) and 114 age-matched controls and correlated oral microbial composition and dental health. RESULTS: PKU patients exhibited worse dental health, reduced oral microbial diversity and a difference in the abundance of specific taxa, especially Actinobacteriota species, compared to controls. PKU patients with poor periodontal health exhibited higher alpha diversity than the orally healthy ones, marked by high abundance of the genus Tannerella. Notably, the observed taxonomic differences in PKU patients with normal indices of decayed/missing/filled teeth, plaque control record, gingival bleeding index and periodontal screening and recording index generally differed from microbial signatures of periodontitis. CONCLUSIONS: PKU patients' reduced microbial diversity may be due to their diet's metabolic challenges disrupting microbial and immune balance, thus increasing oral inflammation. Higher alpha diversity in PKU patients with oral inflammation is likely related to expanded microbial niches.