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Study Examines Impact of Rigorous Dental Care on Bacterial Profile in Subgingival Space

February 26, 2007

Scientists have shown that people who follow a meticulous plaque-removing regimen also develop a more benign bacterial profile in the crevice between the gingiva and the tooth, where periodontal diseases arise.  This change in subgingival habitat likely reduces inflammation and causes less fluid to flow into the crevice, thereby delivering fewer nutrients to the colonizing organisms.  All of these studies, however, have been relatively brief, collecting data for no longer than nine months.  As published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, NIDCR grantees take a longer look at this issue.  In a three-year study of 124 people who were periodontally healthy or had minimal disease, they found that rigorous preventive oral care led to decreases in 35 of 40 test bacterial species in the subgingival space.  By year two, major reductions were detected in the levels of many bacterial species in the genera Actinomyces, Capnocytophaga, Campylobacter, Fusobacterium, and Prevotella.  This beneficial shift in subgingival species was associated with clinical improvements. Interestingly, by year three, the scientists noted a “modest” regrowth of the majority of the species, which the authors speculated may precede a worsening clinical condition.  

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This page last updated: February 26, 2014