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J Clin Periodontol. 1998 Nov;25(11 Pt 1):897-907.

Clinical and microbiological findings in elderly subjects with gingivitis or periodontitis.

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Department of Periodontics, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-7444, USA.


The objective of the present study was to study the supra- and subgingival microflora by culture and cDNA probe methods in 20 elderly subjects who were between 62 and 93 years of age. 10 of them had gingivitis only, and 10 had periodontitis. B. forsythus (BF), P. gingivalis (PG), P. intermedia (PI), P. nigrescens (PN), A. actinomycetemcomitans (AA), T. denticola (TD), and pathogen-related oral spirochetes (PROS) were studied. Oral hygiene was similar and poor in both groups. The mean probing depth at sample sites was 6.7 mm (S.D+/-1.3) in the periodontitis group and 2.2 mm (S.D.+/-1.5) in the gingivitis group (F=17.75, p<0.001). Mean clinical attachment levels (CAL) were 4.3 mm (S.D.+/-2.0) and 1.7 mm (S.D.+/-0.9) respectively (p<0.001). Total viable counts >1.0x10(5) in supra-gingival plaque samples were found in all periodontitis and in eight gingivitis subjects. 70x more black-pigmented organisms were found in supra-gingival and 185 times more in sub-gingival plaque from the periodontitis group (p<0.01). Culture data showed P. nigresecens in 10% periodontitis and 50% gingivitis subjects (p<0.03). In supra-gingival samples by the Affirm DP test, BF was present in 50% periodontitis and 60% gingivitis while culture data were negative for all subjects. PG was found in 30% periodontitis and 50% gingivitis subjects with TD in 70% periodontitis and in 30% gingivitis subjects. In the sub-gingival plaque samples 80% periodontitis and 70% gingivitis subjects had >1x10(5) anaerobes. The total count of black-pigmented organisms was significantly greater in the periodontitis elders (p<0.001). cDNA probes by the Affirm DP test identified subgingival presence of BF (80%) PG (80%), PI (80%), AA (0%), TD (50%) in periodontitis subjects with BF (70%), PG (40%), PI (30%) and TD (20%) in gingivitis subjects. PROS were found in (80%) samples from periodontitis and in (60%) of gingivitis elderly. Only the quantities of PI (r=0.48, p<0.01) and TD (r=0.37, p<0.01) were associated with the disease definition. The smoking habit in the periodontitis group was significantly higher (p<0.01). A history of smoking may contribute significantly to periodontitis in the presence of pathogens.

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