Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effect of smoking on subgingival microflora of patients with periodontitis in Japan

Michiya Kubota12, Mariko Tanno-Nakanishi2, Satoru Yamada2, Katsuji Okuda13 and Kazuyuki Ishihara13*

Author Affiliations

1 Oral Health Science Center, Tokyo Dental College, Chiba 261-8502, Japan

2 Department of Periodontology, Tokyo Dental College, Chiba 261-8502, Japan

3 Department of Microbiology, Tokyo Dental College, Chiba 261-8502, Japan

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BMC Oral Health 2011, 11:1  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-11-1

Published: 5 January 2011



Smoking is a risk factor for periodontitis. To clarify the contribution of smoking to periodontitis, it is essential to assess the relationship between smoking and the subgingival microflora. The aim of this study was to gain an insight into the influence of smoking on the microflora of Japanese patients with periodontitis.


Sixty-seven Japanese patients with chronic periodontitis (19 to 83 years old, 23 women and 44 men) were enrolled in the present study. They consisted of 30 smokers and 37 non-smokers. Periodontal parameters including probing pocket depth (PPD) and bleeding on probing (BOP) and oral hygiene status were recorded. Detection of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia, Tannerella forsythia, Fusobacterium nucleatum/periodonticum, Treponema denticola and Campylobacter rectus in subgingival plaque samples was performed by polymerase chain reaction. Association between the detection of periodontopathic bacteria and smoking status was analyzed by multiple logistic regression analysis and chi-square test.


A statistically significant association was found between having a PPD ≥ 4 mm and detection of T. denticola, P. intermedia, T. forsythia, or C. rectus, with odds ratios ranging from 2.17 to 3.54. A significant association was noted between BOP and the detection of C. rectus or P. intermedia, and smoking, with odds ratios ranging from 1.99 to 5.62. Prevalence of C. rectus was higher in smokers than non-smokers, whereas that of A. actinomycetemcomitans was lower in smokers.


Within limits, the analysis of the subgingival microbial flora in smokers and non-smokers with chronic periodontitis suggests a relevant association between smoking and colonization by the specific periodontal pathogens including C. rectus.