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31-08-2011 | Article

Oral microbiota in alcoholics ‘highly periodontopathic’


Free abstract

MedWire News: The subgingival microbiota differs between alcoholic and non-alcoholic individuals, with the former harboring significantly higher levels of periodontopathic species, say researchers.

Their study also found that the subgingival microbiota was "complex and diverse" irrespective of alcohol consumption, although the clinical significance of the species remains unclear.

For the study, Cristine da Silva Furtado Amaral (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and team analyzed the composition of the subgingival microbiota in 49 alcoholic and 49 non-alcoholic men. Alcohol dependence was determined using the World Health Organization criteria.

Each man provided four subgingival biofilm samples, two from sites with probing depths of less than 4 mm and two from sites with depths greater than 4 mm. The biofilms were then assessed for the presence and levels of 45 bacterial species.

Writing in the Journal of Dentistry, Amaral's team reports that the overall prevalence of bacteria was similar between alcoholic and non-alcoholic men. Species detected in every sample from subjects in both groups included Leptotrichia buccalis, Prevotella nigrescens, Streptococcus constellatus, Streptococcus anginosus, Streptococcus gordonii, Streptococcus sanguinis, Selenomonas noxia, and Staphylococcus aureus.

However, some species were more common in the alcoholic group including: Fusobacterium nucleatum nucleatum, Gemellamorbillorum, Neisseria mucosa, Propionibacterium acnes, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella melaninogenica, and Streptococcus intermedius. Conversely, Parvimonas micra and Streptococcus oralis were more prevalent in the non-alcoholic group.

In analyses restricted to sites with a probing depth of less than 4 mm, alcoholics harbored significantly higher mean counts subjects harboured significantly higher mean counts of S. gordonii, Capnocytophaga sputigena, F. nucleatum vincentii, F. nucleatum nucleatum, P. gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia, G. Morbillorum, and N. Mucosa, and lower levels of S. Anginosus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa compared with non-alcoholic subjects.

Meanwhile, in sites with a pocket depth of 4 mm or more, alcoholics showed significantly higher levels of S. gordonii, C. sputigena, F. nucleatum vincentii, F. nucleatum nucleatum, P. gingivalis, T. forsythia, G. morbillorum, N. Mucosa, and S. Anginosus than non-alcoholics.

Taken together, these findings suggest that alcoholics harbor significantly higher levels of members of the orange and red complexes described by Socransky et al, note the authors.

"These data may indicate that long-term exposure to alcohol has a greater impact on shallow sites than sites where marked local environmental changes (periodontal pockets) have already occurred," they write.

"Studies evaluating the impact of high levels of periodontopathogens in shallow sites of alcoholic subjects are needed to clarify the etiopathogenesis of periodontitis and to provide more adequate preventive and therapeutic approaches for these subjects," Amaral and co-authors conclude.

By Joanna Lyford