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As of today, this youtube video of white blood cells under attack by bacteria has had nearly 72,000 hits and counting…. .  Why the fascination with this subject?  Well first of all, a lot of people who stumbled on this video were probably searching for a video showing bacteria being attacked by white blood cells.  That’s what people would expect to find – because that’s the job of white blood cells as part of the immune system, right?

The normal environment for white blood cells is the blood, so when neutrophils and leukocytes  (white blood cells) are found in the mouth, they are no longer in the element for which they are designed.  They are no longer effective and are vulnerable to attack by some of the more aggressive bacteria and microbes to be found in the mouth.

Among these types of pathogens and bacteria that will  invade and kill white blood cells are spirochetes and amoeba.  Using a high definition phase contrast microscope, it is possible to identify these pathogens and find the means to treat them.  (Sometimes the treatment options are simpler than one might expect).  However patients rarely expect to find the types of ‘critters’ in their mouths that are all too likely to be found there.  And ‘seeing is believing’.  Without visual proof it is sometimes difficult to understand the role of our mouths as a host for the very minute and complex life forms that can take up residence there.

Visual proof is what a phase contrast microscope with video can provide.  Just last week Dr. O’Rielly presented some of his findings at the Continuing Education Academy of California’s Dental Convention. It is his hope that by continuing to lecture and educate on this subject, that microscope evaluation may become a more routine aspect of ongoing dental care.