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J Periodontol. 2012 Sep;83(9):1139-48. doi: 10.1902/jop.2012.110506. Epub 2012 Mar 23.

Comparison of microbial changes in early redeveloping biofilms on natural teeth and dentures.

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Department of Periodontology, The Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.



Surfaces and fluids can affect oral bacterial colonization. The aim of this study is to compare redeveloping biofilms on natural teeth and dentures.


Supragingival plaque samples were taken from 55 dentate individuals and the denture teeth of 62 edentulous individuals before and after professional cleaning. Also, samples from seven "teeth" (samples included dentures) in randomly selected quadrants were collected after 1, 2, 4, and 7 days of no oral hygiene. Samples were analyzed using checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization. Counts and proportions of 41 bacterial taxa were determined at each time point, and significant differences were determined using the Mann-Whitney U test. Ecological succession was determined using a modified moving window analysis.


Mean total DNA probe counts were similar precleaning but were higher in dentate individuals at all post-cleaning visits (P <0.01). Precleaning edentate biofilms had higher counts and proportions of Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus oralis, and Streptococcus mutans, whereas dentate individuals had higher proportions of Tannerella forsythia, Selenomonas noxia, and Neisseria mucosa. By day 2, mean counts of all taxa were higher in natural teeth, and most remained higher at day 7 (P <0.01). Succession was more rapid and complex in dentate individuals. Both groups demonstrated increased proportions of S. mitis and S. oralis by day 1. N. mucosa, Veillonella parvula, and Eikenella corrodens increased in both groups, but later in samples from edentate individuals.


"Mature" natural and denture teeth biofilms have similar total numbers of bacteria but different species proportions. Post-cleaning biofilm redevelopment is more rapid and more complex on natural teeth than on denture teeth.

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