Silver Spring Dentist, Dr. Alan Wolcott, Explains The Most Recent Research Findings About The Mystery Of The Microorganisms Living In Our Mouths

Silver Spring, Maryland   May 08, 2014   Health News
(PRLEAP.COM) May 8, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland: A recent research project published by scientists at the Ohio State University – headed by research assistant professor of oral biology Clifford Beall – has brought us fractionally closer to understanding the creatures that live in our mouth and their incredible diversity.

It has long been understood that gum disease is a result of poor oral hygiene, a bad diet and habits such as tobacco-use. But although dental healthcare professionals know what lifestyle factors can leave Silver Spring residents at risk of developing this disease and, should it already be present, how to treat it, under the microscope it all pretty much remains a mystery.

There are between 150 and 200 different kinds of bacteria inhabiting your mouth. And while many of the different strains of pathogens believed to be linked with gum disease have been harvested from unhealthy mouths and partially identified, there is still so much that remains shrouded in mystery.

Why?
Over 60% of the microorganisms that flourish in our mouths will not grow in a laboratory dish, which makes oral bacteria exceptionally difficult to study and understand. It's for this reason that these tiny organisms are frequently referred to as "biological dark matter" by the scientific community.

"The mere fact that we cannot grow most strains of oral bacteria in an artificial environment means that the majority of these organisms have not been named, nor classified and are not understood at all," explains Silver Spring dentist Dr. Alan Wolcott. "In order to develop medications and treatments for these bacteria, which can be linked with gum disease, we need to understand them and how they work."

The Research Findings
12 Individual cells of a bacterium called Tannerella BU063 were harvested from a study subject who was in good oral health. In other words, no gum disease was diagnosed. From these 12 bacterium cells, the researchers were able to sequence the genome of this microorganism, which is known to live in the mouths of people who are in good oral health.

Tannerella BU063 shares a very close relationship to the known pathogen Tannerella forsythia, which is found in people who have advanced gum disease – periodontitis. In other words, people in bad oral health. While, with a bit of creative license, these two bacteria may be considered to be "cousins," the research indicates that their genetic makeup displays some very clear differences. In fact, Tannerella BU063 (healthy mouth) shares 66% of Tannerella forsythia's (unhealthy mouth) genetic makeup.

Scientists believe that it's these differences – the genes lacking in Tannerella BU063's makeup, but present in Tannerella forsythia – that may account for the virulence of the latter bacterium. And so, with this new data, these scientists were able to provide traction for a theory that indicates the connection between advanced gum disease (periodontitis) and certain genes in a bacterium.

Silver Spring Dentist, Dr. Wolcott, Explains…
"It's interesting that two closely related bacterium can have such different impacts upon the health of the mouth and it's believed that the different genetic make-up of the two organisms is responsible for this difference in effect," says Dr. Wolcott. "This newly identified bacterium – Tannerella BU063 – is just one of the many microorganisms that scientists have not been able to grow in a culture in the past. The Human Microbiome Project has been hot on the heels of this bacteria's genome for a long time, so its unraveling has constituted a very interesting step forward in our understanding of oral biology."

"Life inside your mouth and inside the oral cavity is incredibly complex and this research, which revealed eight different strains of Tannerella BU063 to be present in the 12 cells harvested from the healthy person being studied, provides excellent support for this notion," explains the Silver Spring dentist.

Additional Research
Researchers at the Ohio State University took things further. Since it became hypothesized that the genes contained by Tannerella forsythia and not by Tannerella BU063 could be responsible for its harmful nature, they began analyzing other gum disease pathogens that displayed similar genetic material. They found one particular gene complex that seemed to show up consistently across the board with the bacteria related to periodontitis and which they now suspect to be the key cause behind the virulence of the disease.

"It's still not clear exactly what these genes do and how they act to cause inflammation and infection, but these findings are important and may be a piece of the puzzle," says the Silver Spring dentist.

About Silver Spring Dentist, Dr. Alan Wolcott, D.D.S.
Dr. Wolcott is one of the few dentists in the world that has had personal, hands-on training with the two world leaders in the advanced area of full mouth implant reconstruction.

With over 15 years' experience in placing and restoring dental implants and his advanced training with Dr. Paulo Malo (Malo Education Advanced Oral Rehabilitation, Lisbon, Portugal) and Dr. Thomas Balshi (Pi Dental Center at Institute for Facial Esthetics, Fort Washington, PA), Dr. Wolcott is considered one of the best Silver Spring dentists in the "All on 4 Implants" treatment choice.

Dr. Wolcott has both lectured at and receiving training from dental institutes around the world and he does so in order to stay attuned to the latest trends in dental services and technology. With extensive expertise and an enthusiastic approach to caring for the whole patient, this Silver Spring dentist has the ability to provide treatments that are not available in every dental office.

Contact Silver Spring Dentist, Dr. Alan Wolcott
To contact Dr. Alan Wolcott, you can call either (866) 275-6007 or (301) 768-4667. Alternatively, leave your details with his practice via the Contact Form on their website and they'll get back to you promptly.

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Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
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