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Off to Get More Floss

Severe gum disease might have more to do with the microbiome of someone's mouth than their genetics, the Washington Post reports.

Researchers led by Manabu Morita from Japan's Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences analyzed the oral microbiomes and genotypes of individuals with and without periodontal disease. Periodontitis affects about 10 percent of the global population, the Post notes.

As they reported in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Morita and his colleagues found that members of the Lactobacillaceae and Desulfobulbacea families and Porphyromonas gingivalis were only present among individuals with periodontitis. At the same time, they noted no differences in SNP frequencies between the groups, hinting that the oral microbiome might have a greater influence on gum disease than genetics.

"In a way, that’s good news: People cannot change their genetic makeup, but they can influence their mouth microbiome through oral hygiene," the Post writes.