Porphyromonas gingivalis, implicated in the pathogenesis of periodontitis, can adhere to epithelial cells and gingival fibroblasts. This study employed flow cytometry to evaluate the adherence of P. gingivalis to epithelial cells under various conditions. The cell lines SK-MES and KB were used in the first experiments. The P. gingivalis strains employed were ATCC 33277, ATCC 49417 and W83. Different adherence conditions were tested (contact time, bacteria/cell ratio, contact temperature). In later experiments, adherence of P. gingivalis to human gingival epithelial cells (GEC) obtained by explant was studied under various conditions. Results showed that P. gingivalis had a high affinity for buccal keratinocytes compared with SK-MES. Adherence showed a level of saturation. The number of receptors may be limited for each epithelial cell line, and there may be more receptors for gingival keratinocytes. Depending on contact time, P. gingivalis showed a higher affinity for GEC, compared with the other two lines. P. gingivalis thus showed specific adherence for a host cell type from a site associated with periodontal disease.