Journal of clinical periodontology vol:28 issue:6 pages:499-507
BACKGROUND: Although periodontitis has a multi-factorial aetiology, the success of its therapy mainly focuses on the eradication/reduction of the exogenous/endogenous periodontopathogens. Most of the species colonise several niches within the oral cavity (e.g. the mucosae, the tongue, the saliva, the periodontal pockets and all intra-oral hard surfaces) and even in the oro-pharyngeal area (e.g., the sinus and the tonsils). METHODS: This review article discusses the intra-oral transmission of periodontopathogens between these niches and analyses clinical studies that support the idea and importance of such an intra-oral translocation. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Based on the literature, the oro-pharyngeal area should indeed be considered as a microbiological entity. Because untreated pockets jeopardise the healing of recently instrumented sites, the treatment of periodontitis should involve "a one stage approach" of all pathologic pockets (1-stage full-mouth disinfection) or should at least consider the use of antiseptics during the intervals between consecutive instrumentations, in order to prevent a microbial translocation of periodontopathogens during the healing period. For the same reason, regeneration procedures or the local application of antibiotics should be postponed until a maximal improvement has been obtained in the remaining dentition. This more global approach offers significant additional clinical and microbiological benefits.