Subgingival and tongue microbiota during early periodontitis

J Dent Res. 2006 Apr;85(4):318-23. doi: 10.1177/154405910608500407.


Periodontal infections have a microbial etiology. Association of species with early disease would be useful in determining which microbes initiate periodontitis. We hypothesized that the microbiota of subgingival and tongue samples would differ between early periodontitis and health. A cross-sectional evaluation of 141 healthy and early periodontitis adults was performed with the use of oligonucleotide probes and PCR. Most species differed in associations with sample sites; most subgingival species were associated with subgingival samples. Few species were detected more frequently in early periodontitis by DNA probes. Porphyromonas gingivalis and Tannerella forsythia (Tannerella forsythensis) were associated with early periodontitis by direct PCR. In conclusion, the microbiota of tongue samples was less sensitive than that of subgingival samples in detecting periodontal species, and there was overlap in species detected in health and early periodontitis. Detection of periodontal pathogens in early periodontitis suggests an etiology similar to that of more advanced disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gingiva / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Periodontal Index
  • Periodontal Pocket / microbiology
  • Periodontitis / microbiology*
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / isolation & purification*
  • Reference Values
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tongue / microbiology*
  • Treponema / classification
  • Treponema / isolation & purification*


  • DNA, Bacterial