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J Periodontal Res. 1999 Jan;34(1):25-33.

Clinical and microbiological characteristics of smokers with early onset periodontitis.

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Department of Periodontology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Athens, Greece.


Cigarette smoking is a potential risk factor which has recently been associated with periodontal disease progression. The objective of this study was to compare the microbial profile of smokers and non-smokers in a group of patients with early onset periodontitis. The study population consisted of 60 healthy individuals, 40 males and 20 females aged 22 to 35 yr, exhibiting early onset periodontitis. Thirty patients were smokers (30.9 cigarettes/d) and 30 non-smokers. Smokers had a higher proportion of deep pockets (PD >5 mm), especially in the maxilla anterior and premolar regions (p < 0.001) and presented a significantly greater mean probing depth and attachment loss (p <0.05) in diseased sites and a significantly greater alveolar bone loss (p <0.01) compared to non-smokers. Two pooled bacterial samples were obtained from each patient. Samples were collected from the deepest periodontal pockets of each quadrant. The samples were cultured anaerobically and in 10% CO2 plus air for bacterial isolation using selective and non-selective media. Isolates were characterized to species level by conventional biochemical tests and various identification kits. Smokers harboured a greater number of bacteria in total. Analysis of bacterial counts using the ANOVA (Mann-Whitney U-test) showed that Staphylococcus aureus, Peptostreptococcus micros, Campylobacter concisus, Escherichia coli, Bacteroides forsythus, C. gracilis, C. rectus, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Selenomonas sputigena, Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus were found in significantly higher numbers and more frequently in smokers while Streptococcus intermedius, A. naeslundii, A. israelii and Eubacterium lentum were detected more frequently and in significantly higher proportions in non-smokers. The isolation of bacteria belonging to the exogenous flora such as E. coli, C. albicans, A. fumigatus and S. aureus in smokers' microbiota underscores the importance of the host that is adversely affected by cigarette smoking.

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