Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is associated with adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) and has also been implicated in several disorders, including periodontal disease. The proviral load is an important biological marker for understanding HTLV-1 pathogenesis and elucidating whether or not the virus is related to the clinical manifestation of the disease. This study describes the oral health profile of HTLV-1 carriers and HAM/TSP patients in order to investigate the association between the proviral load in saliva and the severity of the periodontal disease and to examine virus intra-host variations from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and saliva cells. It is a cross-sectional analytical study of 90 individuals carried out from November 2006 to May 2008. Of the patients, 60 were HTLV-1 positive and 30 were negative. Individuals from the HTLV-1 positive and negative groups had similar mean age and social-economic status. Data were analyzed using two available statistical software packages, STATA 8.0 and SPSS 11.0 to conduct frequency analysis. Differences of P < 0.05 were considered statistically significant. HTLV-1 patients had poorer oral health status when compared to seronegative individuals. A weak positive correlation between blood and saliva proviral loads was observed. The mean values of proviral load in blood and saliva in patients with HAM/TSP was greater than those in HTLV-1 carriers. The HTLV-1 molecular analysis from PBMC and saliva specimens suggests that HTLV-1 in saliva is due to lymphocyte infiltration from peripheral blood. A direct relationship between the proviral load in saliva and oral manifestations was observed. J. Med. Virol. 84:1428–1436, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.