The aim of the present study was to evaluate the ability of Porphyromonas gingivalis to degrade hyaluronic acid. No hyaluronidase activity was detected using a turbidimetric method, whereas a standard plate assay showed a positive reaction for P. gingivalis. We postulated that the high proteolytic activity of P. gingivalis may account for this observation. A modified plate assay was designed to avoid false-positive reactions caused by proteolytic bacteria. The new assay, based on the formation of a water-insoluble salt between hyaluronic acid and the polyanion cetylpyridinium chloride, indicated that P. gingivalis does not have hyaluronidase activity. By this modified plate method, it was found that among 24 different oral bacterial species tested, Propionibacterium acnes and Prevotella oris were the only species that possess hyaluronidase activity.