To obtain deeper insights into the etiology of oral disease, an understanding of the composition of the surrounding bacterial environments that lead to health or disease is required, which is attracting increasing attention. In this study, the bacterial compositions in the saliva of 200 subjects aged 15-40 years were depicted as peak patterns by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of 16S rRNA genes. The subjects were classified into three clusters by partitioning around medoids clustering based on their T-RFLP profiles, and the clinical oral health parameters of the clusters were compared. The clustering of the T-RFLP profiles in this study was mainly based on differences in the abundance distribution of the dominant terminal restriction fragments (TRFs) detected in most of the subjects. Predicted from the sizes of the TRFs, the characteristically more predominant members of each were Prevotella and Veillonella species in cluster I; Streptococcus species in cluster II and Neisseria, Haemophilus or Aggregatibacter species and Porphyromonas species in cluster III. The parameters associated with periodontal disease were significantly different among the clusters. Clusters I and II had a higher percentage of sites of periodontal pockets greater than 4 mm than cluster III, and cluster I contained sites exhibiting bleeding on probing more often than cluster II or III; no significant differences were observed in other parameters. These results suggest that the abundance distribution of commensal bacteria in saliva is correlated with periodontal health, and might be involved in the susceptibility of an individual to periodontal disease.
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