We know that our bodies contain many different types of bacteria, and that it probably contains many, many more than we have yet discovered, as well as some we know exist, but know very little about. One such bacterium has recently been cultivated by researchers at UCLA, exposing the role it plays in severe gum disease.

Growing the Ungrowable

dreamstime_xs_2764243The newly cultivated bacterium doesn’t even have a name, yet, just a designation–TM7x–that it belongs to a mysterious phylum known as TM7. We know from genetic testing that bacteria from this phylum are highly prevalent in people who have advanced gum disease, the leading cause of receding gums. We also know that the bacterium is extremely difficult to grow in the lab. Until we can grow–or culture it–we have a hard time understanding the life cycle, potential impacts, and even potential treatments for a bacterium.

What we didn’t know is that TM7x is apparently a unique bacterium in that it’s the first example of a truly parasitic bacterium. TM7x is a parasite of another bacterium named Actinomyces odontolyticus and designated XH001. Attempts at culturing TM7x with other bacteria failed.

The Parasite of Your Parasite May Be Your Friend

One of the interesting discoveries that researchers found is that when they cultivated XH001 in bone marrow, it led to a large inflammatory response. However, when they cultivated XH001 and TM7x together in bone marrow, the inflammatory response was significantly reduced when TM7x was attached to XH001. This means that TM7x, which kills XH001 may actually help to slow the development of gum disease, preventing receding gums, bone loss, and tooth loss.

But it’s too early to say that for sure. It’s possible that TM7x has secondary actions that may lead to further damage of the gums and teeth.

Although we can hope that discoveries like this may lead to the prevention of future cases of receding gums, we know that if you do experience receding gums, our nonsurgical gum treatment can restore gums that have been damaged. If you want to repair receding gums, please call 310-275-5325 in Beverly Hills or (949) 551-5902 in Orange County today for an appointment.