Microbial transitions from health to disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in our understanding of the microbial populations that colonize the human mouth, their acquisition, interdependency, and coevolution with the host, bring a different perspective to the mechanisms underpinning the maintenance of periodontal health and the development of disease. In this work we suggest that our knowledge map of the etiology of periodontal health and disease can be viewed as a broad, highly connected, and integrated system that spans the entire spectrum of microbe/host/clinical interactions. The overall concept of present Periodontology 2000, that the microbial biofilm can be considered a human tissue of bacteriological origin, is entirely consistent with this integrated system view. The health-associated community structure of microbial biofilms can be considered a system that is normally resilient to perturbation. Equally, there is evidence to suggest that the dysbiotic community structure in disease may share similar resilience properties. In both instances, the resilience may be governed by the precise makeup of the acquired microbiome and by the genetics of the host. Understanding the mechanisms that enable the resistance to change of healthy and dysbiotic microbial populations may be important in the development of approaches to prevent the progression of disease and to restore health in diseased individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Biofilms
  • Dysbiosis
  • Humans
  • Microbiota
  • Mouth


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