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Protozoa and periodontal disease

Graham Clark G.CLARK at lshtm.ac.uk
Thu Feb 29 04:46:50 EST 1996

bohmfalk at tcgcs.com (John Bohmfalk) wrote:
>In my parasit class, we just talked about both T. tenax and E.
>gingivalis.  Since both organisms feed on bacteria, my students were
>wondering whether people infected with either or both organisms might
>have a reduced incidence of periodontal disease.  I haven't been
>able to find any references in this regard.  

Actually, the reverse seems to be true. E. gingivalis at least seems
to be a secondary 'invader', only becoming established after a
bacterial flora is in place and disease is occurring. Prevalence of E.
gingivalis is positively correlated with advanced periodontal disease;
this appears to be the case for T. tenax also. This correlation was
once thought to indicate that E. gingivalis was the CAUSE of
periodontal disease. It is unlikely that the numbers of protozoa could
ever put a significant dent in the numbers of bacteria in any case.
(Incidentally, E. gingivalis occasionally infects the uterus too.)

Graham Clark

A few references...

Keyes, P.H., Rams, T.E. 1983. A rationale for management of
periodontal diseases: rapid identification of microbial 'therapeutic
targets' with phase-contrast microscopy. J. Am. Dental. Assoc.

Lyons, T., Scholten, T., Palmer, J.C., Stanfield, E. 1983. Oral
amoebiasis: the role of Entamoeba gingivalis in periodontal disease.
Quintessence International 14: 1245-1248

Linke, H.A.B., Gannon, J.T., Obin, J.N. 1989. Clinical survey of
Entamoeba gingivalis by multiple sampling in patients with advanced
periodontal disease. Int. J. Parasitol. 19: 803-808

Clark, C.G., Diamond, L.S. 1992. Colonization of the uterus by the
oral protozoan Entamoeba gingivalis. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 46:

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