Purpose: This study aimed to describe the periodontal condition of children, adolescents and young Saudi adults and to investigate its relationship with salivary variables and oral hygiene status. Materials and Methods: A sample of 114 children, 99 adolescents and 99 young adults were randomly selected from patients attending dental clinics at the school of dentistry. Clinical examination of oral health status included using WHO Community Periodontal Index and Green and Vermillion oral hygiene index. In addition, salivary flow rate, pH, buffering capacity and microbial flora were measured. Results: A healthy periodontal condition was found in 6.7% of the sample. Calculus was the most frequently encountered periodontal disease. Children had better periodontal condition than adolescents and adults. Males had higher plaque and gingival scores than females. The salivary flow rate and pH were significantly higher in individuals with good periodontal condition. The salivary level of fluoride and buffering capacity was not related to the periodontal condition. Yeast was the only microorganism related to periodontal condition. The relationship between poor periodontal condition and high plaque score was highly significant. Conclusions: Periodontal disease increased with age and was strongly related to salivary flow rate, pH value and yeast level, as well as plaque accumulation. Preventive efforts must be increased in order to achieve the WHO goal for the year 2010 of no more than one sextant showing bleeding or calculus at the age of 15.
Keywords: community periodontal index, microbial flora, oral hygiene, saliva