Similarities in the Subgingival Microbiota Assessed by a Curet Sampling Method at Sites With Chronic Periodontitis

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Abstract

Background:

The goal of this study was to determine whether site-specific differences in the subgingival microbiota could be detected by the checkerboard method in subjects with periodontitis.

Methods:

Subjects with at least six periodontal pockets with a probing depth (PD) between 5 and 7 mm were enrolled in the study. Subgingival plaque samples were collected with sterile curets by a single-stroke procedure at six selected periodontal sites from 161 subjects (966 subgingival sites). Subgingival bacterial samples were assayed with the checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization method identifying 37 species.

Results:

Probing depths of 5, 6, and 7 mm were found at 50% (n = 483), 34% (n = 328), and 16% (n = 155) of sites, respectively. Statistical analysis failed to demonstrate differences in the sum of bacterial counts by tooth type (P = 0.18) or specific location of the sample (P = 0.78). With the exceptions of Campylobacter gracilis (P <0.001) and Actinomyces naeslundii (P <0.001), analysis by general linear model multivariate regression failed to identify subject or sample location factors as explanatory to microbiologic results. A trend of difference in bacterial load by tooth type was found for Prevotella nigrescens (P <0.01). At a cutoff level of ≥1.0 × 105, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Tannerella forsythia (previously T. forsythensis) were present at 48.0% to 56.3% and 46.0% to 51.2% of sampled sites, respectively.

Conclusions:

Given the similarities in the clinical evidence of periodontitis, the presence and levels of 37 species commonly studied in periodontitis are similar, with no differences between molar, premolar, and incisor/cuspid subgingival sites. This may facilitate microbiologic sampling strategies in subjects during periodontal therapy. J Periodontol 2008;79:2290-2296.

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