Subgingival microbiota of indigenous Indians of Central America

S. A. Dowsett, M. J. Kowolik, L. A. Archila, G. J. Eckert, D. J. LeBlanc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: To define the subgingival microbial profiles of adult subjects from a previously identified rural community of indigenous Indians in Guatemala, Central America. Materials and methods: A full-mouth periodontal examination was performed in 114 adult subjects from 45 families. Plaque samples were collected from both deep and shallow periodontal pockets and checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization was employed to identify 17 species previously associated with periodontitis or health. Results: Plaque deposits and gingivitis were universal and widespread, and periodontal pocketing ≥5 mm was highly prevalent (84% of subjects). Streptococcus sanguis, Actinomyces naeslundii genospecies 2 and Fusobacterium nucleatum were significantly more prevalent in shallow sites. At the subject level, Actinomyces naeslundii and Peptostreptococcus micros were significantly more prevalent in periodontally-healthy subjects. Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans was not detected in any sample. Conclusion: There was no association between periodontal disease status and presence of suspected periodontal pathogens. These latter results conflict somewhat with those from treated populations. However, in this population where extensive plaque deposits and gingivitis are universal, the presence of putative pathogens may be more reflective of the local environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-167
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2002


  • Microbiota
  • Periodontal disease
  • Periodontal pathogens
  • Subgingival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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