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By tracing the genetic makeup of a germ related to digestion and immune function, a team of international researchers may have provided dentists with new methods of nurturing dental health.
In a study published in the December 24 issue of the Journal PLoS Genetics, scientists sequenced the genome of a bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals, thereby identifying the properties of the germ that contribute to cavities and tooth decay, GenomeWeb News reports.
"The data indicate that the genome of this bacteria has evolved through a very limited number of horizontal gene acquisition events, highlighting the narrow boundaries that separate [parasites] from opportunistic pathogens," wrote senior author Douwe van Sinderen, a molecular microbiologist at the National University of Ireland at Cork.
In laymen's terms, the study revealed that bacteria, B. dentium, can release acid in the mouths of its hosts and break down the minerals found in teeth, presenting a serious hazard to dental health.
According to WebMD.com, dentists can advise their patients on the use of certain fluorides to strengthen teeth and dental sealants applied to molars to prevent the tooth decay caused by certain pathogens.
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