Researchers from the University of Melbourne, and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia believe that environmental factors are the key driver for cavities in children, not genetics as previously believed. The researchers followed 345 twins from before they were born to the age of six. By comparing cavities in pairs of identical and fraternal twins they were able to determine that rates of tooth decay were too similar between both identical and fraternal twins to be caused exclusively by genetics. The main environmental factors identified by the study are lack of fluoride in community water sources, maternal obesity, and defects in the mineralization of tooth enamel. Luckily, all of these environmental factors can be controlled in order to improve oral health.
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