Periodontitis is a progressive disease of the periodontium with a complex, polymicrobial etiology. Recent Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) studies of the microbial diversity associated with periodontitis have revealed strong, community-level differences in bacterial assemblages associated with healthy or diseased periodontal sites. In this study, we used NGS approaches to characterize changes in periodontal pocket bacterial diversity after standard periodontal treatment. Despite consistent changes in the abundance of certain taxa in individuals whose condition improved with treatment, post-treatment samples retained the highest similarity to pre-treatment samples from the same individual. Deeper phylogenetic analysis of periodontal pathogen-containing genera Prevotella and Fusobacterium found both unexpected diversity and differential treatment response among species. Our results highlight how understanding interpersonal variability among microbiomes is necessary for determining how polymicrobial diseases respond to treatment and disturbance.
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