Comparison of the distribution of Actinomyces in dental plaque on inserted enamel and natural tooth surfaces in periodontal health and disease

William F Liljemark, C. G. Bloomquist, C. L. Bandt, B. L. Pihlstrom, James E Hinrichs, Larry F Wolff

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The distribution of Actinomyces naeslundii, Actinomyces viscosus and Actinomyces odontolyticus in healthy and diseased adult populations was studied in 3 different ways. First, supragingival plaque formation at 2 through 72 h was examined in 12 periodontally healthy adults using a removable pre‐measured surface of enamel bonded to molars and premolars. Second, a cross‐sectional examination of the composition of both supragingival and subgingival plaque of unknown age was conducted in 205 adults exhibiting periodontal health to moderate disease. Third, the effects of oral hygiene instruction and root planing on the subgingival micro‐flora of a subset of 19 subjects with moderate periodontitis were examined. The evaluation of 12 adults revealed that the predominant species in early plaque formation (2, 4 and 8 h) was A. odontolyticus, A. viscosus and A. naeslundii were present in developing plaques in almost all subjects in 2‐h plaque, but absent in half the subjects when 4‐, 8‐ or 24‐h plaque was examined. These two species significantly increased in numbers per mm2 enamel surface area in 48‐ and 72‐h plaques. A. odontolyticus was not related to clinical signs of periodontal disease in 205 adults, and its subgingival proportions in plaque did not change following periodontal treatment of 19 individuals. A. naeslundii was found in significantly higher numbers in supragingival than subgingival plaques in the 205 adults examined. The mean proportion of A. naeslundii significantly decreased as the magnitude of probing depth and attachment loss increased. The proportions of A. naeslundii and A. viscosus were found to be significantly increased in subgingival plaques following periodontal treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-15
Number of pages11
JournalOral Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1993


  • Actinomyces spp
  • adherence
  • plaque development


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