Food consumption allows the entrance of bacteria and their antibiotic resistance (AR) genes into the human oral cavity. To date, very few studies have examined the influence of diet on the composition of the salivary microbiota, and even fewer investigations have specifically aimed to assess the impact of different long-term diets on the salivary resistome. In this study, the saliva of 144 healthy omnivores, ovo-lacto-vegetarians, and vegans were screened by nested PCR for the occurrence of 12 genes conferring resistance to tetracyclines, macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B, vancomycin, and β-lactams. The tet(W), tet(M), and erm(B) genes occurred with the highest frequencies. Overall, no effect of diet on AR gene distribution was seen. Some differences emerged at the recruiting site level, such as the higher frequency of erm(C) in the saliva of the ovo-lacto-vegetarians and omnivores from Bologna and Turin, respectively, and the higher occurrence of tet(K) in the saliva of the omnivores from Bologna. A correlation of the intake of milk and cheese with the abundance of tet(K) and erm(C) genes was seen. Finally, when the occurrence of the 12 AR genes was evaluated along with geographical location, age, and sex as sources of variability, high similarity among the 144 volunteers was seen.
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