The personal human oral microbiome obscures the effects of treatment on periodontal disease

PLoS One. 2014 Jan 29;9(1):e86708. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086708. eCollection 2014.


Periodontitis is a progressive disease of the periodontium with a complex, polymicrobial etiology. Recent Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) studies of the microbial diversity associated with periodontitis have revealed strong, community-level differences in bacterial assemblages associated with healthy or diseased periodontal sites. In this study, we used NGS approaches to characterize changes in periodontal pocket bacterial diversity after standard periodontal treatment. Despite consistent changes in the abundance of certain taxa in individuals whose condition improved with treatment, post-treatment samples retained the highest similarity to pre-treatment samples from the same individual. Deeper phylogenetic analysis of periodontal pathogen-containing genera Prevotella and Fusobacterium found both unexpected diversity and differential treatment response among species. Our results highlight how understanding interpersonal variability among microbiomes is necessary for determining how polymicrobial diseases respond to treatment and disturbance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Fusobacterium / classification*
  • Fusobacterium / genetics
  • Fusobacterium / isolation & purification
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American
  • Microbiota / genetics*
  • Periodontitis / drug therapy
  • Periodontitis / ethnology
  • Periodontitis / microbiology*
  • Periodontium / drug effects
  • Periodontium / microbiology
  • Phylogeny*
  • Prevotella / classification*
  • Prevotella / genetics
  • Prevotella / isolation & purification
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents