Daily Exposure to a Cranberry Polyphenol Oral Rinse Alters the Oral Microbiome but Not Taste Perception in PROP Taster Status Classified Individuals
Diet and salivary proteins influence the composition of the oral microbiome, and recent data suggest that TAS2R38 bitter taste genetics may also play a role. We investigated the effects of daily exposure to a cranberry polyphenol oral rinse on taste perception, salivary proteins, and oral microbiota. 6-n-Propylthiouracil (PROP) super-tasters (ST, n = 10) and non-tasters (NT, n = 10) rinsed with 30 mL of 0.75 g/L cranberry polyphenol extract (CPE) in spring water, twice daily for 11 days while consuming their habitual diets. The 16S rRNA gene sequencing showed that the NT oral microbiome composition was different than that of STs at baseline (p = 0.012) but not after the intervention (p = 0.525). Principal coordinates analysis using unweighted UniFrac distance showed that CPE modified microbiome composition in NTs (p = 0.023) but not in STs (p = 0.096). The intervention also altered specific salivary protein levels (alpha-amylase, MUC-5B, and selected S-type Cystatins) with no changes in sensory perception. Correlation networks between oral microbiota, salivary proteins, and sensory ratings showed that the ST microbiome had a more complex relationship with salivary proteins, particularly proline-rich proteins, than that in NTs. These findings show that CPE modulated the oral microbiome of NTs to be similar to that of STs, which could have implications for oral health.