Objectives: To explore the subgingival periodontal microflora in a Saudi Arabian population with a special focus on its relationship with various smoking habits.
Material and methods: A total of 198 individuals in the age range 17-60 years were included in the study. 29% were water-pipe smokers, 18% cigarette smokers, 13% smokers of both water pipe and cigarettes (mixed smokers) and 40% non-smokers. For each individual, a subgingival plaque sample from the deepest site in each quadrant was obtained. The checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization technology was used to determine the presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia, Prevotella nigrescens, Tannerella forsythensis, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Treponoma denticola, Peptostreptococcus micros, Campylobacter rectus, Eikenella corrodens, Selenomonas noxia and Streptococcus intermedius. Two cut-off levels for detection were used, score 1(10(5) bacteria) and score 3 (10(6) bacteria).
Results: The prevalence of individuals positive for the different microorganisms at score 1 cut-off varied from 7% to 95%. At score 3 cut-off the prevalence varied from 0% to 30%. The depth of sample site was a key factor for detection. When the depth of sample site was taken into account, no statistically significant differences were observed between cigarette smokers, water-pipe smokers, and non-smokers with regard to occurrence of the microorganisms studied.
Conclusions: No major differences were observed between cigarette smokers, water-pipe smokers, and non-smokers regarding the occurrence of the periodontal microorganisms studied suggesting that this portion of the subgingival periodontal microflora is independent of tobacco smoking.