Saliva contains diverse bacteria shed from various oral sites, including subgingival plaque. It is reasonable to focus on the total occupancy of subgingival plaque-specific bacteria (SUBP bacteria), which live in subgingival environments, in the saliva for detecting periodontitis using salivary testing. This study aimed to validate the clinical utility of SUBP bacteria in the salivary microbiota for the detection of periodontitis. We examined stimulated saliva samples collected from 125 subjects who visited three dental clinics. The relative abundances of previously identified 11 SUBP bacteria were determined using 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing and a reference-based approach. The prediction performance was evaluated using a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. The SUBP bacteria accounted for 0-15.4% of the salivary microbiota, and the percentage distinguished periodontitis patients with at least 15 sites with probing depth ≥4 mm with a sensitivity of 0.90 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81-0.98) and specificity of 0.70 (95% CI, 0.60-0.80) (area under the ROC curve [AUC], 0.87). Among 2, 047 combinations of 11 SUBP bacteria, combinations including Streptococcus constellatus, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Fusobacterium nucleatum subsp. vincentii demonstrated significantly higher AUC values in their detection. These results suggest that examining SUBP bacteria in saliva may be useful for detecting periodontitis patients in mass screening.
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