Anabolic steroids affect human periodontal health and microbiota

Clin Oral Investig. 2014 Jul;18(6):1579-86. doi: 10.1007/s00784-013-1126-9. Epub 2013 Nov 13.


Objectives: This study aims to evaluate periodontal microbiological differences between systemically healthy nonsmoker males taking anabolic androgenic steroids (AASs) and non-AAS users and to find associations between disease severity and AAS use.

Methods: Ninety-two men practicing bodybuilding were included in the study. They were divided into AAS users and a matched control nonuser group and subgrouped based on their most severe periodontal condition. Pooled subgingival samples from each individual were cultured to evaluate specific periodontopathogen infection.

Results: AAS users had significantly higher prevalence of severe periodontitis. AAS users had greater gingival inflammation and clinical attachment loss of ≥ 3 mm than nonusers (odds ratio (OR) = 2.4; p = 0.09; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.8-6.4). AAS users were 4.9 times more likely to be infected with Prevotella intermedia than AAS nonusers (OR = 4.9; p = 0.003; 95 % CI 1.6-14.7). The OR of presenting subgingival Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans was 8.2 times higher in AAS users (OR = 8.2; p = 0.03; 95 % CI 0.9-70.8). AAS users were 5.6 times more likely to present subgingival Candida spp. than nonusers (OR = 5.6; p = 0.02; 95 % CI 1.1-27.1). AAS users were 14.8 times more likely to present subgingival Candida parapsilosis than nonusers (OR = 14.8; p < 0.0001; 95 % CI 3.1-69.2). The likelihood of AAS users presenting subgingival Candida tropicalis was 4.3 times higher than nonusers (OR = 4.3; p = 0.03; 95 % CI 1.1-16.9). A. actinomycetemcomitans was mostly isolated in individuals with severe periodontitis and was associated with subgingival Porphyromonas gingivalis, P. intermedia, and Candida spp.

Conclusions: AAS use may increase the risk for severe periodontitis and may cause a subgingival selection of certain Candida species. Specific periodontopathogens, such as Candida dubliniensis and Candida albicans, seem to be negatively affected by AAS use. The higher risk for disease progression in AAS users may be explained by the significantly higher proportions of A. actinomycetemcomitans, P. gingivalis, P. intermedia, and Candida species as compared to controls.

Clinical significance: Data on the influence of AAS on subgingival periodontopathogens and disease progression are scarce. Higher proportions of specific periodontopathogens are plausible in AAS users. AAS users had a higher prevalence of severe periodontitis, gingival inflammation, and clinical attachment loss. Men taking AAS are at greater risk of periodontitis and specific periodontopathogen infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbiota*
  • Periodontium / drug effects*
  • Periodontium / microbiology
  • Steroids / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Steroids