Suspected periodontal pathogens can be transmitted between spouses. The treatment response may be unsuccessful in periodontitis patients, if the spouse harbors these bacteria. The aim of the present 6-month follow-up study was to clarify whether the microbiological treatment outcome of periodontitis patients is related to the detection of suspected periodontal pathogens in the saliva of the spouse. 10 patients with advanced periodontitis and their spouses were included in the study. The patients received mechanical periodontal treatment and 500 mg metronidazole systemically 2x a day for 7 days. The presence of visible plaque, gingival bleeding after probing, suppuration, supragingival and subgingival calculus and pocket depths were assessed at baseline and 1 and 6 months after treatment. Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia/Prevotella nigrescens, Campylobacter rectus and Peptostreptococcus micros were cultured from pooled subgingival samples from the patients and from salivary samples from the spouses at corresponding occasions. Periodontal conditions in the patients improved after treatment as determined by the significantly lower values of clinical variables 1 and 6 months after treatment compared to those at baseline. However, the re-emergence of periodontal bacteria after treatment of the patients was not related to the concurrent detection of the respective bacteria in the saliva of the spouses. In this study design, it seemed that the salivary bacterial load in the spouse was of minor importance for the microbiological treatment outcome of the patient.
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