Porphyromonas gingivalis, the most influential pathogen in red-complex bacteria: A cross-sectional study on the relationship between bacterial count and clinical periodontal status in Japan

J Periodontol. 2021 Apr 15. doi: 10.1002/JPER.21-0011. Online ahead of print.


Background: Porphyromonas gingivalis is a key pathogen in microbiota associated with periodontitis. The purpose of the present study was to assess the association between salivary counts of red-complex bacteria and clinical periodontal status in a Japanese population.

Methods: A total of 977 subjects who visited a general dental clinic in Japan from 2003 to 2006 were enrolled in the study. Stimulated saliva was obtained, and the amounts of major periodontal bacteria were measured using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Probing pocket depth (PPD), bleeding on probing (BOP), and each subject's average proximal bone crest level (BCL) on dental radiographs were measured.

Results: The number of P. gingivalis strongly associated with percentage of 4 mm or more PPD sites, BOP positive percentage, and 1.5 mm or more BCL sites. The detection of P. gingivalis with Treponema denticola and/or Tannerella forsythia showed a high rate of three positive clinical parameters, whereas the only P. gingivalis detected group and those without P. gingivalis had a low rate of three positive clinical parameters.

Conclusion: Among red-complex bacteria, the amount of P. gingivalis showed the strongest association with the severity of periodontal condition, and co-occurrence of P. gingivalis with T. denticola and/or T. forsythia showed heightened progression of periodontitis.

Keywords: diagnosis; pathology-oral; periodontitis.