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Dietary habits, not genes, to blame for your toothache, twin study shows

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-09-14 11:19

Dietary habits, not genes, to blame for your toothache, twin study shows

[Photo/Xinhua]

Your mother was right: The condition of your teeth depends on your dietary and oral hygiene habits, not your genes, according to a new study out Wednesday that looked at the role that genes and the oral microbiome play in the formation of cavities.

"Limiting sugar consumption and acid buildup in the mouth have been part of the dogma of the dental community for some time," said senior author Karen Nelson, president of the J. Craig Venter Institute, whose study was published in the US journal Cell Host & Microbe.

"This work introduces specific taxa of bacteria that can be acquired through the environment and that have the ability to induce cavities," Nelson said.

For a long time, Streptococcus bacteria in the mouth have been linked to the formation of cavities.

In the new study, the investigators took a closer look at specific taxa that are important by profiling the oral microbiomes of 485 twin pairs -- 280 fraternal twins and 205 identical twins -- between the ages of five and 11.

Identical and fraternal twins are a popular method used to separate the role of heritability versus the environment. Identical twins result from one egg that' s been split in two at some time during early pregnancy, whereas fraternal twins result from two separate eggs.

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