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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Oral Health 1/2019

Observational cross-sectional study of Trichomonas tenax in patients with periodontal disease attending a Chilean university dental clinic

BMC Oral Health > Ausgabe 1/2019
Casandra Bracamonte-Wolf, Patricio R. Orrego, Christian Muñoz, Daniel Herrera, Joel Bravo, Jorge Gonzalez, Héctor Varela, Alejandro Catalán, Jorge E. Araya
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The oral flagellated protozoan Trichomonas tenax has been associated with patients with periodontal disease. However, no recent studies have been conducted on the prevalence of T. tenax in Chile. The aim of this study was to determine the presence of T. tenax in patients with periodontal disease, admitted to the Dental Clinic of the University of Antofagasta, Chile, through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) amplification of the beta-tubulin gene.


An observational, cross-sectional study was conducted on 50 patients diagnosed with periodontal disease, 20 of them with gingivitis and 30 with periodontitis. T. tenax was identified by PCR amplification of the beta-tubulin gene. Associations between the protozoan and periodontal disease or the presence of risk factors to establish T. tenax infection were determined using the chi-square test and binary logistic regression analysis.


T. tenax was present in 28 out of 50 (56%) of patients with periodontal disease, and was more prevalent when associated with periodontitis (21 out of 30; 70%) than dental plaque-induced gingivitis (7 out of 20; 35%). Non-statistically-significant associations were observed between the presence of T. tenax and age, gender, smoking habit or diabetes. Statistically significant associations were observed between the presence of T. tenax and periodontal disease, and between T. tenax and the Periodontal Screening and Recording (PSR) index.


T. tenax showed a high presence in patients with progressive states of periodontal diseases. Consequently, T. tenax detection is strongly recommended in patients with periodontal disease diagnosis and with a PSR index greater than 3.
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