Relationship of “bleeding on probing” and “gingival index bleeding” as clinical parameters of gingival inflammation

Eros S. Chaves, Robert C. Wood, Archie A. Jones, Dewey A. Newbold, Mary A. Manwell, Kenneth S. Kornman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Abstract Bleeding on probing (BOP) and the gingival index have been used to clinically characterize the degree of gingival inflammation. It is, however, unclear to what extent these parameters correlate to each other and to probing pocket depth (PD). The purpose of this clinical study was to evaluate the association between BOP and GI bleeding (scores of 2 and 3), as well as the relationship of these variables to PD, in a group of patients presenting with naturally‐occurring gingivitis. Based on screening examinations of 125 subjects with at least 20 teeth, no more than 4 sites with PD over 6 mm, a BOP frequency of 30% or greater, and no systemic condition that would influence the inflammatory response, were selected. 2 weeks after screening they were examined at 6 sites per tooth for plaque index, GI, PD and BOP. A standardized pressure sensitive probe (Florida Probe) with 20 g probing force was used for BOP and PD measurements. In this population, means of 40.9% (S.E.= 1.36) BOP sites and 35.3% (S.E, = 1.81) GI bleeding sites per patient were found. A total of 20,008 sites ranging in PD up to 5.9 mm were evaluated; however, the majority of sites (19,723, 98.6%) presented with <4 mm PD. When sites were evaluated, BOP demonstrated a positive correlation with PD, whereas GI bleeding correlated with PH. For sites characterized by the absence of BOP as well as the absence of GI bleeding (scores 0 and 1), the highest % of agreement between the 2 indices (77.7%) was found in shallow sites (0.1–2 mm). In contrast, when sites presenting with both BOP and GI bleeding were analyzed, the highest % of agreement (85,4%) was found for sites with PD >4.0 mm. In this gingivitis population group, it appears that BOP and GI bleeding evaluate distinct inflammatory1 conditions of the gingival tissues, and the relationship between the 2 clinical parameters may vary according to PD at the individual site examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1993


  • BOP
  • GI
  • clinical parameters
  • clinical trials
  • gingiva inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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