Background. Recent developments in molecular biological techniques have enabled rapid detection of periodontopathic bacterial species in clinical specimens. Accumulated evidence suggests that detection of specific bacterial species enables identification of subjects at high risk for the onset of periodontitis. We investigated the distribution of 10 selected periodontopathic bacterial species in dental plaque specimens obtained from children with disabilities who were attending daycare centers. Methods. A total of 187 children (136 boys, 51 girls) aged 1-6 years old and diagnosed with such disabilities as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and autism, participated in the study. Subgingival dental plaque specimens were collected from the buccal side of the maxillary left second primary molar after a clinical examination. Bacterial DNA was extracted from the specimens and PCR analyses were carried out to detect 10 selected periodontopathic species using specific primers for each. In addition, statistical analyses were performed to analyze the correlations among clinical parameters and the detected species. Results. The most frequently detected species was Capnocytophaga sputigena (28.3%), followed by Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (20.9%) and Campylobacter rectus (18.2%). Eikenella corrodens, Capnocytophaga ochracea, and Prevotella nigrescence were detected in approximately 10% of the specimens, whereas Treponema denticola, Tannerella forsythia, and Prevotella intermedia were rarely found, and Porphyromonas gingivalis was not detected in any of the subjects. The total numbers of detected species were positively correlated with the age of the subjects. There were 10 subjects with positive reactions for T. denticola and/or T. forsythia, in whom the total number of bacterial species was significantly higher as compared to the other subjects. Furthermore, subjects possessing C. rectus showed significantly greater values for periodontal pocket depth, gingival index, and total number of species. Conclusion. We found that approximately one-fourth of the present subjects with disabilities who possessed at least one of T. denticola, T. forsythia, and C. rectus were at possible risk for periodontitis. Follow-up examinations as well as preventive approaches should be utilized for such individuals.
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