There are few objective assays for studies of the epidemiology of periodontal diseases. The PerioScan is an assay capable of detecting three periodontal pathogens, namely T. denticola, P. gingivalis, and B. forsythus, which have been associated with adult periodontitis. The PerioScan was tested in a sample of 301 Brazilians. Clinical indices--bleeding, probing depth, gingival index, and periodontal index--were recorded from four sites in each subject. Subgingival plaque samples were collected from those sites and placed on the PerioScan card. Color results were scored in the field after 15 minutes. The plaque samples were screened with polyclonal antibodies for the three species by an ELISA system. The PerioScan, when compared with the ELISA system, yields a sensitivity of 91 percent, specificity of 89 percent, and an accuracy of 90 percent. When the PerioScan was compared to clinical indices, there was a high sensitivity (at least 93%) and a low specificity (no less than 47%), with an accuracy of at least 61 percent.