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The Art in Science

Product Image The Reason They Invented the Toothbrush

The Reason They Invented the Toothbrush

Julie Marchesan, Graduate Student (Giannobile Laboratory), Oral Health Sciences Program, University of Michigan School of Dentistry

Porphyromonas gingivalis is a bacterium that is present in high numbers in the mouth of people with gum disease, a major cause of bad breath and tooth loss. This is an image of the bacteria being cultivated in agar with blood from sheep, ideal for the bacteria growth. P. gingivalis loves growing in places with food and blood (like unclean teeth!), and will turn black by processing hemoglobin and storing it on its surface.