Recent investigations of the human subgingival oral flora based on ribosomal 16S cloning and sequencing have shown many of the bacterial species present to be novel species or phylotypes. The purpose of the present investigation was to identify potential periodontal pathogens among these newly identified species and phylotypes. Species-specific ribosomal 16S primers for PCR amplification were developed for detection of new species. Associations with chronic periodontitis were observed for several new species or phylotypes, including uncultivated clones D084 and BH017 from the Deferribacteres phylum, AU126 from the Bacteroidetes phylum, Megasphaera clone BB166, clone X112 from the OP11 phylum, and clone I025 from the TM7 phylum, and the named species Eubacterium saphenum, Porphyromonas endodontalis, Prevotella denticola, and Cryptobacterium curtum. Species or phylotypes more prevalent in periodontal health included two uncultivated phylotypes, clone W090 from the Deferribacteres phylum and clone BU063 from the Bacteroidetes, and named species Atopobium rimae and Atopobium parvulum.