Prevalence of periodontal pathogens in localized and generalized forms of early-onset periodontitis

Brian H. Mullally, Barry Dace, Charles E. Shelburne, Larry F. Wolff, Wilson A. Coulter

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76 Scopus citations


The primary objectives of this study were to investigate the prevalence of 8 putative periodontal pathogens in subjects with early-onset periodontitis (EOP) and to evaluate the microbial differences between localized and generalized forms of this periodontal disease condition. Thirty-one females and 11 males with a mean age of 30.3 (s.d. 4.0) years were examined. Seventeen subjects had generalized (GEOP) and 25 had localized early-onset periodontitis (LEOP). Subgingival plaque samples were assayed using PCR which provided subject prevalence data for the pathogens; Bacteroides forsythus 78.6%, Treponema denticola 88.1%, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans 19.0%, Porphyromonas gingivalis 16.7%, Prevotella intermedia 40.4%, Prevotella nigrescens 61.9%, Eikenella corrodens 42.3% and Campylobacter rectus 92.8%. Only 3 healthy sites harbored one or more of these periodontal pathogens. Seven of the 8 subjects positive for A. actinomycetemcomitans had LEOP. P. intermedia was present in 58.8% of GEOP compared with 28% of LEOP subjects (p = 0.046). At 82.4% of GEOP sites P. nigrescens was present while this bacteria was detected at 52% of LEOP (p = 0.044). P. gingivalis was isolated from 22.6% of females but no male subjects (p = 0.084). C. rectus was recovered from all female subjects compared to 72.7% of males (p = 0.014). A. actinomycetemcomitans (37.5%) and C. rectus (86.5%) were more frequently identified in non-smokers compared to 7.6% and 68.8% of smokers, respectively (p<0.05). Microbial associations coincided with the clinical division of the cases into LEOP and GEOP in 83% of the subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-241
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2000


  • Early onset periodontitis
  • PCR
  • Periodontal pathogens
  • Plaque


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