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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

Outlier Bacteria May Play a Protective Role in the Mouth

Medical science has long linked oral bacteria and inflammation, which in turn has been associated with a range of chronic health issues, from heart disease to diabetes to cancer. But early research on TM7, a tiny parasitic bacteria recently found in the human oral microbiome, suggests that it might actually play a protective role.

Scientists from the Forsyth Institute, the only independent research institute in the United States focusing on the connections between oral health and overall wellness, have developed a manipulatable model to help them understand the role of TM7.

As the Forsyth Institute reported on, “Researchers hypothesized . . . TM7 acquired the Arginine Deiminase System (ADS) as an evolutionary advantage to help them adapt and survive in the human oral cavity. To test this hypothesis, scientists developed a model system to experimentally investigate the function and impact of ADS on TM7x and its host bacterium.” 

Dr. Xueson He of the Forsyth Institute and Dr. Jeffrey S. McLean at the University of Washington used the model to study how TM7 adapted to live inside humans. Their findings, published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that TM7 plays a protective role in the mouth. This supports an earlier study suggesting that TM7 reduced gum inflammation and bone loss in mice. While there is much more research to be done, He said, the manipulatable model gives scientists an excellent tool.

Information sourced by Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, owner of Cariodontal, located at 310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck, NY (516-282-0310 /, and Manhattan Oasis Dentistry, 525 West End Ave., Ste. 1G, New York, NY (212-874-2880 /

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