Coast Dental Blog

Fast Facts – Orange Complex Bacteria

Fast Facts – Perio Edition Episode 6
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Welcome back, everyone. You are listening to another episode of Fast Facts- Perio Edition brought to you by A Tale of Two Hygienists in partnership with DentistRX. And now, please welcome your host, Katrina Sanders.
[Katrina Sanders, RDH]
Hello and welcome back to another episode of Fast Facts:Perio Edition with Katrina Sanders. In this episode, we’re going to talk about orange complex bacteria. Now, a few things to know about our orange complex bacteria. According to Socransky, your orange complex bacteria are intermediate colonizers or moderate risk bacteria. These bacteria are what we call facultative anaerobes, which just simply means that they can live with or without oxygen because they metabolize energy, either aerobically or anaerobically.
These intermediate colonizers do prefer to live in the influence of oxygen, but if carbon dioxide is around, they’ll hang out with that, too, and they create a suitable environment for future anaerobic bacteria to colonize. These intermediate colonizers are filamentous or rod shaped, and they adhere at that gingival margin, which means that, stay tuned, we’re going to be getting ready for a red complex bacteria to be coagulating down at the subgingival space. Now, our major intermediate colonizer is Fusobacterium nucleatum and a few things to know specifically about this bug. Fusobacterium nucleatum is the predominant bacteria present in preterm births in humans with periodontal disease and Fusobacterium nucleatum has also demonstrated association with colon cancer and induces tumor growth in colon tissue.
Another common orange complex bacteria is your Prevotella intermedia and your Campylobacter rectus. Now both of these bacteria are also anaerobic, but interestingly enough, we see both P. Intermedia and C. Rectus present in pregnancy gingivitis. We believe that this is because Prevotella intermedia specifically is not only anaerobic and oftentimes found in necrotizing gingivitis cases, but also P. Intermedia uses steroid hormones as growth factors, which is where we see it responsible for pregnancy gingivitis, or really any time when hormones are elevated. Specifically when estrogen and progesterone are elevated. Noted in your puberty, gingivitis cases, your perimenopausal cases and of course, pregnancy cases.
These orange complex bacteria, although they are moderate risk bacteria, set the stage, so to speak, for our red complex bacteria who are the next ones to show up to the periodontal disease party. Stay tuned as we discuss red complex bacteria in next week’s episode. Thank you for joining and stay tuned.
This has been another episode of Fast Facts – Perio Edition with Katrina Sanders, RDH. Please feel free to reach me on Instagram @thedentalwinegenist or on my website Cheers.
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Thank you for listening to another episode of Fast Facts – Perio Edition, brought to you in part by DentistRX makers of the InteliSonic line of power brushes. Find out more by visiting their website at We’ll see you next week for another Fast Fact!

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