The role of diet and nutrition in the prevention of oral diseases has recently gained increasing attention. Understanding the influence of diet on oral microbiota is essential for developing meaningful prevention approaches to oral diseases, and the identification of typical and atypical responders may contribute to this.
We used data from an experimental clinical study in which 11 participants were exposed to different dietary regimens in five consecutive phases. To analyse the influence of additional nutritional components, we examined changes in bacterial concentrations measured by culture techniques compared to a run-in phase. A measure of correspondence between the mean and individual patterns of the bacterial composition is introduced.
The distance measures introduced showed clear differences between the subjects. In our data, two typical and three atypical responders appear to have been identified.
The proposed method is suitable to identify typical and atypical responders, even in small datasets. We recommend routinely performing such analyses.