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ISME J. 2015 Jan;9(1):268-72. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2014.114. Epub 2014 Jul 11.

The subgingival microbiome of clinically healthy current and never smokers.

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Division of Oral Biology, College of Dentistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
Division of Periodontology, School of Dental Sciences and Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Division of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
Division of Periodontology, College of Dentistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.


Dysbiotic oral bacterial communities have a critical role in the etiology and progression of periodontal diseases. The goal of this study was to investigate the extent to which smoking increases risk for disease by influencing the composition of the subgingival microbiome in states of clinical health. Subgingival plaque samples were collected from 200 systemically and periodontally healthy smokers and nonsmokers. 16S pyrotag sequencing was preformed generating 1,623,713 classifiable sequences, which were compared with a curated version of the Greengenes database using the quantitative insights into microbial ecology pipeline. The subgingival microbial profiles of smokers and never-smokers were different at all taxonomic levels, and principal coordinate analysis revealed distinct clustering of the microbial communities based on smoking status. Smokers demonstrated a highly diverse, pathogen-rich, commensal-poor, anaerobic microbiome that is more closely aligned with a disease-associated community in clinically healthy individuals, suggesting that it creates an at-risk-for-harm environment that is primed for a future ecological catastrophe.

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