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Comparison of periodontal microbiological patterns in Italian spouses

Purpose: The aim of this study is to evaluate whether periodontopathogens are transmitted from husband to wife or vice versa.

Materials and methods: We tested the microbiological profile of 9 couples married for at least 10 years suffering from periodontitis. The microbiological analysis provides the quantification by RealTime PCR of six main periodontopathogens, including P. gingivalis, T. denticola, T. forsythia, F. nucleatum ssp. polymorphum, P. intermedia, A. actinomycetemcomitans and genotype of P. gingivalis FimA in 90 subgingival plaque samples.

Results: The microbiological profiles highlighted a quite similar composition of oral microbial flora among husband and wife. Statistical results revealed a very high Pearson correlation values for the microbiological profiles in all 9 spouses. Additionally, five couples out of nine showed statistically similar values for the microbiological profile as determined by the Wilcoxon rank Sign test. We provided also a strong validation for the horizontal transmission of oral pathogens in the detection of the same genotype of P. gingivalis FimA in the spouses.

Conclusions: The presence of periodontitis in one member of the couple is a strong indicator of risk for the colonization of the spouse by periodontophatic bacteria. This study confirms that periodontal disease can be transmitted suggesting the importance of an early detection of oral pathogens in familial pattern of periodontitis to clarify the source of infection in order to assess correct prevention protocols based on potential infectivity within spouses.

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