Periodontitis: A Polymicrobial Disruption of Host Homeostasis

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2010 Jul;8(7):481-90. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2337.

Abstract

Periodontitis, or gum disease, affects millions of people each year. Although it is associated with a defined microbial composition found on the surface of the tooth and tooth root, the contribution of bacteria to disease progression is poorly understood. Commensal bacteria probably induce a protective response that prevents the host from developing disease. However, several bacterial species found in plaque (the 'red-complex' bacteria: Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia and Treponema denticola) use various mechanisms to interfere with host defence mechanisms. Furthermore, disease may result from 'community-based' attack on the host. Here, I describe the interaction of the host immune system with the oral bacteria in healthy states and in diseased states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Biofilms
  • Humans
  • Periodontitis / immunology*
  • Periodontitis / microbiology
  • Periodontium / immunology
  • Periodontium / microbiology
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / physiology
  • Treponema denticola / physiology