J Periodontal Implant Sci.  2020 Dec;50(6):358-367. 10.5051/jpis.2002420121.

Efficacy of salivary versus subgingival bacterial sampling for the detection and quantification of periodontal pathogens

  • 1Department of Periodontology, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry, Seoul, Korea


The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy and validity of subgingival bacterial sampling using a retraction cord, and to evaluate how well this sampling method reflected changes in periodontal conditions after periodontal therapy.
Based on clinical examinations, 87 subjects were divided into a healthy group (n=40) and a periodontitis group (n=47). Clinical measurements were obtained from all subjects including periodontal probing depth (PD), bleeding on probing (BOP), clinical attachment loss (CAL), and the plaque index. Saliva and gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) as a subgingival bacterial sample were sampled before and 3 months after periodontal therapy. The salivary and subgingival bacterial samples were analyzed by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction to quantify the following 11 periodontal pathogens: Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa), Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), Tannerella forsythus (Tf), Treponema denticola (Td), Prevotella intermedia (Pi), Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn), Pavimonas micra (Pm), Campylobacter rectus (Cr), Prevotella nigrescens (Pn), Eikenella corrodens (Ec), and Eubacterium nodatum (En).
Non-surgical periodontal therapy resulted in significant decreases in PD (P<0.01), CAL (P<0.01), and BOP (P<0.05) after 3 months. Four species (Pg, Tf, Pi, and Pm) were significantly more abundant in both types of samples in the periodontitis group than in the healthy group. After periodontal therapy, Cr was the only bacterium that showed a statistically significant decrease in saliva, whereas statistically significant decreases in Cr, Pg, and Pn were found in GCF.
Salivary and subgingival bacterial sampling with a gingival retraction cord were found to be equivalent in terms of their accuracy for differentiating periodontitis, but GCF reflected changes in bacterial abundance after periodontal therapy more sensitively than saliva.


Gingival crevicular fluid; Microbiota; Periodontitis; Polymerase chain reaction; Saliva
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