Microbial “dark matter”

At Artistic Touch Dentistry, we follow advancements in scientific research that can benefit our patient’s oral health. And we’re excited that scientists have begun mapping some of the microbial “dark matter” in the mouth and gut that can provide clues to overall health and wellness.

Scientists estimate that half of bacteria living in human bodies is difficult to replicate for scientific research, hence the term “microbial dark matter,” as the matter is not well-understand save for its simple existence. One bacteria group that has posed a particular challenge for researchers is the Candidate Phylum TM7, which has been thought to cause inflammatory mucosal diseases because it is so prevalent in people with periodontitis, an infection of the gums.

A landmark discovery by scientists at the UCLA School of Dentistry, the J. Craig Venter Institute, and the University of Washington School of Dentistry has revealed insights into TM7’s resistance to scientific study and to its role in the progression of periodontitis and other diseases. Their findings shed new light on the biological, ecological and medical importance of TM7, and could lead to better understanding of other elusive bacteria.

If you’re unsure about the state of your oral health and the potential presence of microbial material contributing to gum disease in your mouth, contact us for your next cleaning appointment and exam today!


University of California – Los Angeles. (2014, December 23). How ‘microbial dark matter’ might cause disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 16, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141223141604.htm