Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Gayle McCombs

Committee Member

Michele L. Darby

Committee Member

Kenneth Marinak

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.D46 P38 2003


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between volatile sulfide compounds and gingival health status, and to recognize if volatile sulfide compounds can detect early dental plaque-induced gingival disease, using a 21-day experimental gingivitis model. A split-mouth design with randomly selected quadrants of the mandibular arch enabled 39 subjects, 19-62 years of age, to serve as their own controls. A baseline full-mouth periodontal probing assessment was obtained to verify gingival health and enrollment status. At baseline and at three subsequent appointments, gingival inflammation, bleeding on probing, and sulfide levels were measured using the Gingival Index and the Diamond Probe/Perio 2000 System®. For three weeks, subjects refrained from brushing and flossing one randomly selected quadrant of the mandibular arch. The Pearson correlation test was used to determine the relationship between sulfide levels and gingival health status. The Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test was used to compare the differences in gingival inflammation, bleeding on probing and sulfide levels between the hygiene and non-hygiene side at baseline, day 7, 14, and 21. Gingival Index, bleeding on probing and sulfide level scores showed statistically significant differences from baseline until the end of the study between both the hygiene and non-hygiene side, however, the strength of the correlation was stronger for the non-hygiene side. The Diamond Probe/Perio 2000 System® was able to detect sites with elevated sulfide levels, which suggest that volatile sulfide compounds may serve as a useful marker in detecting early dental plaque-induced gingivitis. Whether sulfur by-product is a contributor to the disease process, or merely a correlate remains unanswered.


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