What does this bacterium look like?
Leptotrichia is narrow and rod-shaped and was named after the Greek “leptos thrix” which literally means “fine hair”. This bacterium can be up to 20 micrometers long, which is quite large compared to a lot of other bacteria. Leptotrichia was first isolated from the uterus of a rabbit in 1896.
What does science already know about this bacterium?
There are still some uncertainties about Leptotrichia. The bacterial cells often group in pairs or can also form chains. Before the eruption of first baby teeth, variants of this bacterium are found in 17% of babies. After the appearance of baby teeth, this percentage increases to 71%. Among the Isala participants, this bacterium is found in more than 98% of the saliva samples submitted.
What is this bacterium doing in my mouth?
Generally, this bacterium is considered a normal part of the oral microbiome. Leptotrichia species might be important in formation of pigment on the teeth, such as the appearance of brown spots on the tooth surface in children.
Does this bacterium occur elsewhere?
Leptotrichia is part of a healthy human microbiome and can also be found in the intestines and vagina in addition to the mouth.