Background: The oral microbiota play a central role in oral health, and possibly in carcinogenesis. Research suggests that coffee and tea consumption may have beneficial health effects. We examined the associations of these common beverages with the oral ecosystem in a large cross-sectional study. Methods: We assessed oral microbiota in mouthwash samples from 938 participants in two U.S. cohorts using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Coffee and tea intake were assessed from food frequency questionnaires. We examined associations of coffee and tea intake with overall oral microbiota diversity and composition using linear regression and permutational MANOVA, respectively, and with taxon abundance using negative binomial generalized linear models; all models adjusted for age, sex, cohort, body mass index, smoking, ethanol intake, and energy intake. Results: Higher tea intake was associated with greater oral microbiota richness (P = 0.05) and diversity (P = 0.006), and shifts in overall community composition (P = 0.002); coffee was not associated with these microbiome parameters. Tea intake was associated with altered abundance of several oral taxa; these included Fusobacteriales, Clostridiales, and Shuttleworthia satelles (higher with increasing tea) and Bifidobacteriaceae, Bergeyella, Lactobacillales, and Kingella oralis (lower with increasing tea). Higher coffee intake was only associated with greater abundance of Granulicatella and Synergistetes. Conclusions: In the largest study to date of tea and coffee consumption in relation to the oral microbiota, the microbiota of tea drinkers differed in several ways from nondrinkers. Impact: Tea-driven changes to the oral microbiome may contribute to previously observed associations between tea and oral and systemic diseases, including cancers.
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