Oral Health Nature vs Nurture

The nature and nurture argument is a widespread debate which can be adopted to your oral health. Basically, it is all about determining whether it is your genes (nature) or the environment which brings out a characteristic or attribute in you.

Our human mouth is full of microorganisms which live there. We do not know what factors control these types of organisms and which do not. However, a recent study which was published by Genome Research has said to have discovered that the environment has more control in determining oral microbiota.

The microbiome in your mouth started to form as soon as you were born. An excess of bacteria was then brought into the mouth when you were in child and adulthood, but again little is known whether it is our genes or the environment that has a more powerful influence.

The reason why it was important to see if nature or nurture affect oral microbiota communities, is so that a more efficient prevention and treatment plan can be put into place for those who suffer from diseases such as endicardtis and bacteremia.

Monozygotic and dizygotic twins were used in the study (a factor which is very important when testing if something is caused by nature or nurture). Researches sequenced the microbial DNA that was found in the two different groups. The DNA sequences were then paired into a database and it was inferred which types of bacteria existed in each individual.

Identical twins have the same genetic make-up and are likely to have a common environment which is why it is a perfect basis to compare salivary microbiomes. The scientists found that there was little difference in comparison with non-identical twins whom only share half of their genes. This therefore suggests that genetics do no play an important role, which means that nurture is the winner of this debate.

Another astonishing conclusion that was found from the study was that the fundamental community of bacteria that exists in humans are basically the same, as Ken Krauter (the senior researcher of the study) stated that ‘there is a relatively high degree of sharing similar microbial species in all human mouths’ although there are some minor differences among different people.

The researchers behind this study hope that it will provide a framework for future studies looking at what affects oral microbial communities. With the knowledge that has been obtained from this piece of research, it can now give people a better understanding of how oral hygiene and other factors can impact the microbes that exist in our mouth.