Trichomonas tenax and periodontal diseases: a concise review

Parasitology. 2017 Sep;144(11):1417-1425. doi: 10.1017/S0031182017000701. Epub 2017 Jun 6.


Periodontal diseases (gingivitis and periodontitis), result from a disruption of the host-oral microbiome homoeostasis. Whereas the pathological role of some specific bacterial strains during periodontal diseases is well documented, the impact of parasites in periodontium pathophysiology is still under debate. This review aims to collect data about the prevalence and the potential role of Trichomonas tenax during periodontal diseases. Data from 47 studies revealed that T. tenax prevalence in diseased periodontium ranged from 0 to 94·1%. The prevalence of oral protozoan infections was found to be largely greater in patients with periodontal diseases than with healthy periodontium. The parasite detection was mainly performed by direct microscopy. Trichomonas tenax presence was clearly correlated with periodontal disease. The high heterogeneity of its periodontal prevalence may be correlated with the diversity of the population screened (age, sex, systemic diseases), and the methods used for diagnosis. This protozoan seems to have the capacity to be involved in the inflammatory process of gum disease. Animal experimentation, using relevant physiopathological models of periodontitis, needs to be performed to investigate the ability of T. tenax to cause and/or worsen the disease. Further investigations using standardized experimental designs of epidemiologic studies are also needed.

Keywords: Trichomonas; parasitic diseases; periodontal diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gingivitis / parasitology
  • Gingivitis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / parasitology*
  • Periodontal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Periodontitis / parasitology
  • Periodontitis / physiopathology
  • Periodontium / parasitology
  • Periodontium / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Trichomonas / isolation & purification*
  • Trichomonas / pathogenicity
  • Trichomonas / ultrastructure
  • Trichomonas Infections / diagnosis
  • Trichomonas Infections / epidemiology
  • Trichomonas Infections / parasitology*