The Nexus Between Periodontal Inflammation and Dysbiosis

Front Immunol. 2020 Mar 31:11:511. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.00511. eCollection 2020.


The nexus between periodontal inflammation and the polymicrobial biofilm in the gingival sulcus is critical to understanding the pathobiology of periodontitis. Both play a major role in the etiology and pathogenesis of periodontal diseases and each reinforces the other. However, this nexus is also at the center of a significant conundrum for periodontology. For all mucosal polymicrobial biofilms, the most confounding issue is the paradoxical relationship between inflammation, infection, and disease. Despite significant advances made in both periodontal microbiology and periodontal pathobiology, the issue of which comes first, the inflammatory response or the change to a dysbiotic subgingival microbiota, is still debated. In this paper, we present a model for the pathogenesis of periodontitis based on the central role of inflammation and how this modulates the polymicrobial biofilm within the context of the continuum of health, gingivitis, and periodontitis. We propose a new model termed "Inflammation-Mediated Polymicrobial-Emergence and Dysbiotic-Exacerbation" (IMPEDE), which is designed to integrate into and complement the 2017 World Workshop Classification of Periodontitis.

Keywords: gingivitis; periodontal infection; periodontal inflammation; periodontal pathogen; periodontitis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dysbiosis*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Periodontitis / microbiology*