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Oral Microbiol Immunol. 2008 Jun;23(3):196-205. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-302X.2007.00411.x.

Microbial complexes in supragingival plaque.

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Department of Periodontology, The Forsyth Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



To examine microbial communities in supragingival biofilm samples.


Supragingival plaque samples were taken from 187 subjects at baseline (n = 4745). Fifty-five subjects provided supragingival plaque samples at 1-7 days after professional tooth cleaning (n = 1456); 93 subjects provided 8044 samples between 3 and 24 months post-therapy. All samples were individually analyzed for their content of 40 bacterial species using checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization. Microbial associations among species were sought using cluster analysis and community ordination techniques for the three groups separately.


Six complexes were formed for the baseline samples. Similar complexes were formed for the samples taken 3-24 months post-therapy. However, distinct changes were observed in microbial communities in samples taken during the 7 days of plaque redevelopment. The complexes related to clinical parameters of periodontal disease.


There were specific microbial complexes in supragingival plaque that were similar to those found in subgingival plaque samples with a few minor differences. The relation of previously unclustered taxa to the complexes was also described.

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