Oral Microbiome Finds Challenge Dentistry Dogma

Kristina Campbell

Scientists have been aware of microbes in the mouth for centuries, since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek famously reported scraping live bacteria from the inside of his mouth and observing them “very prettily a-moving” under an early microscope in the late 1600s. Subsequently, they cultured what they could from sites in the mouth and studied the characteristics of specific bacteria, leading them to pin oral diseases on certain microbes. But with next-generation gene-sequencing techniques becoming widespread over the past two decades, along with innovative imaging tools, scientists are now equipped with other ways to interrogate the microbes of the oral cavity … Oral microbiome research is changing long-held views about how microbes contribute to dental health — and to overall health, too. Fresh ways to leverage the mouth’s microbial community for better oral and general health might be just around the corner.

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