Increasing attention is being focused on evaluating the salivary microbiota as a promising method for monitoring oral health; however, its bacterial composition greatly differs from that of dental plaque microbiota, which is a dominant etiologic factor of oral diseases. This study evaluated the relative abundance of subgingival plaque-specific bacteria in the salivary microbiota and examined a relationship between the abundance and severity of periodontal condition in patients with periodontitis. Four samples (subgingival and supragingival plaques, saliva, and tongue coating) per each subject were collected from 14 patients with a broad range of severity of periodontitis before periodontal therapy. The bacterial composition was analyzed by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing using Ion PGM. Of the 66 species- level operational taxonomic units (OTUs) representing the mean relative abundance of 1% in any of the four niches, 12 OTUs corresponding to known periodontal pathogens, including Porphyromonas gingivalis, were characteristically predominant in the subgingival plaque and constituted 37.3 ± 22.9% of the microbiota. The total relative abundance of these OTUs occupied only 1.6 ± 1.2% of the salivary microbiota, but significantly correlated with the percentage of diseased sites (periodontal pocket depth 4 mm; r = 0.78, P < 0.001), in addition to the abundance of subgingival plaque microbiota (r = 0.61, P = 0.02). After periodontal therapy, the total relative abundance of these 12 OTUs was evaluated as well as before periodontal therapy and reductions of the abundance through periodontal therapy were strongly correlated in saliva and subgingival plaque (r = 0.81, P < 0.001). Based on these results, salivary microbiota might be a promising target for the evaluation of subgingival plaque-derived bacteria representing the present condition of periodontal health.
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