Aim: To assess the distribution of elevated antibody titres to multiple periodontal bacteria, including established/putative pathogens and health-related species, by selected demographic, behavioural, and oral- and general health-related characteristics.
Methods: Data from 8153 >or=40-year-old participants from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used, including 1588 edentulous individuals. We used checkerboard immunoblotting to assess serum IgG levels to 19 periodontal species. Thresholds for elevated antibody responses were defined for each species using the 90th percentile titre in periodontal healthy participants, using two alternative definitions of periodontitis.
Results: Edentulous individuals showed lower antibody responses than dentate participants, notably for titres to "red complex" species and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. Elevated titres to Porphyromonas gingivalis were twice as prevalent in participants with periodontitis than in periodontal healthy individuals. Non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans were more likely to display elevated titres for P. gingivalis compared with non-Hispanic whites (22.9%versus 19.4%versus 9.5%). Current smokers were significantly less likely to exhibit high titres to multiple bacteria than never smokers.
Conclusion: Demographic, behavioural, and oral- and general health-related characteristics were strong determinants of systemic antibody responses to periodontal bacteria in a nationally representative sample of US adults.