Children's genetic makeup doesn't appear to influence their oral microbiome to lead some to be more prone to cavities than others, the Economist reports.
Researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute profiled the oral microbiomes of 485 identical and fraternal twins between the ages of 5 and 11. At the same time, dentists examined the children's teeth for signs of previous or current cavities. As they report in Cell Host & Microbe, the researchers found that the oral microbiome has highly heritable components, but that none of those microbes were linked to cavity development. This suggested to the researchers that cavity-causing bacteria aren't controlled by host genetics.
As the Economist notes, the researchers also found that the similarity between identical twins' oral microbiomes weakens as they got older.
"Far from supporting the idea that some children are fated to suffer from cavities no matter how well they brush their teeth, these results make it clear that the power to control the growth of the relevant bacteria is very much within reach of children and their parents," it adds.