Objectives: The dynamic nature of oro-facial infections made it imperative to study the epidemiology of gingivitis and periodontitis which are significant clinical conditions in the Nigerian environment.
Methods: The clinical and microbiological features of 162 patients with periodontal diseases (gingivitis 68, periodontitis 94) were analysed. The advantage of routine antibiotic susceptibility testing for oral pathogens in patients’ management was investigated.
Results: The incidence of periodontal diseases was more in females than males with a ratio of 0.53 though the difference was not significant. A high incidence of gingivitis (55.9%) occurred within the first 29 years with a cluster of cases (48.6%) between 10 and 29 years of age with incidence tending to decline with advancing age. Though the incidence of periodontitis was highest amongst adults over 40 years (42.6%), the incidence of 8.5% in children below 10 years of age was high. Polybacterial aetiology was characteristic; aerobes were the predominant flora in gingivitis with a preponderance of Streptococcus spp, while anaerobes predominated in periodontitis with such species as Porphyromonas, Prevotella, Fusobacterium and Actinobacillus. Significant reduction in duration of treatment was obtained when patients were treated based on susceptibility results as opposed to empirical knowledge (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: The diversity of microbial aetiology of periodontal infections may put much demand on routine laboratory investigations for patient management, but it may be necessary to weigh the benefit of additional cost against the cost of treatment failure associated with antibiotic resistance in bacteria.