Entamoeba Gingivalis : Morphology, Life Cycle, Diseases, Symptoms, & Treatment

Entamoeba Gingivalis : Morphology, Life Cycle, Cyst, Mode of Transmission, Diseases, Symptoms, & Treatment

  • Entamoeba gingivalis is present in the mouth, being found in large numbers when the oral hygiene is poor.
  • It is generally non-pathogenic, though it has been claimed that it contributes to periodontal disease.
  • It was discovered by Gros in 1849 and so was the first amoeba of humans to have been described.

Geographical distribution

  • It is global in distribution.


Only the trophozoite is found, the cystic stage being apparently absent.

Trophozoites have following characteristics :

  • Size : About 10-20 μm.
  • Mobility :  Actively motile with multiple pseudopodia.
  • The cytoplasm contains food vacuoles with ingested bacteria, leucocytes and epithelial cells.
  • The presence of ingested leucocytes and their nuclear fragments is diagnostic as no other amoeba ingests these cells.
  • The nucleus is round, with a delicate central karyosome and nuclear membrane lined with coarse chromatin granules.

Life Cycle

E. gingivalis is a monogenetic parasite. Human beings are their only host, however occasionally the parasite has also been reported from the mouth of dogs, cats etc.

Mode of Transmission

  • Since it has no cystic stage, the trophozoites depend for transmission on direct oral contact as in kissing, air-borne spread through salivary droplets and fomites such as shared drinking and eating utensils.

Occurrence in human body

  • The amoeba lives in the gingival tissues and is abundant in unhygienic mouths.
  • The amoeba has also been reported in vaginal and cervical smears of women using intrauterine devices and they disappear spontaneously with the removal of these devices.


Entamoeba Gingivalis is a commensal and is not considered to cause any disease. E.gingivalis has been found in bronchial washings from cases of pulmonary suppuration and in sputum, where it can be mistaken for E.histolytica from lung abscess.

  • Rarely, it is supposed to cause periodontal disease.


  • Treatment of abnormal oral conditions or disease is the better way to eliminate the parasite. No specific drug or medicine is prescribed to kill the organism.


  • Proper hygiene may reduce the incidence of E. gingivalis.
  • Since the organism is commensal, there is no specific prophylaxtic measure to prevent its occurrence.
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