A comparison of national surveys on oral health suggested that the population of South Korea has a better periodontal health status than that of Japan, despite their similar inherent backgrounds. Here, we investigated differences in oral bacterial assemblages between individuals from those two countries. To exclude potential effects of oral health condition on the microbiota, we selected 52 Korean and 88 Japanese orally healthy adults (aged 40-79 years) from the participants of two cohort studies, the Yangpyeong study in South Korea and the Hisayama study in Japan, and compared the salivary microbiomes. The microbiota of the Japanese individuals comprised a more diverse community, with greater proportions of 17 bacterial genera, including Veillonella, Prevotella, and Fusobacterium, compared to the microbiota of the Korean individuals. Conversely, Neisseria and Haemophilus species were present in much lower proportions in the microbiota of the Japanese individuals than the Korean individuals. Because higher proportions of Prevotella and Veillonella and lower proportions of Neisseria and Haemophilus in the salivary microbiome were implicated in periodontitis, the results of this study suggest that the greater proportion of dysbiotic oral microbiota in the Japanese individuals is associated with their higher susceptibility to periodontitis compared to the Korean individuals.
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