Tooth emergence and oral streptococci colonisation: a longitudinal study of Australian twins [ 2005 - 2007 ]

Also known as: Tooth emergence and oral health in twins and their families

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Grant Townsend (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Toby Hughes Dr Neville Gully Prof Lindsay Richards Prof Theo Gotjamanos
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Brief description We plan to include over 500 Australian families of twins in this 5-year study and to collect records of tooth emergence, cheek cells for DNA analysis, dental plaque samples for microbiological analysis, as well as other information from questionnaires. Firstly, we want to learn how genetic and non-genetic factors influence the timing and sequence of emergence of primary (baby) teeth. Most children get their baby teeth between the ages of 6 months and 2.5 years, but sometimes they appear earlier, even at birth, and some children don't get all their baby teeth until about 4 years. By studying identical twins and non-identical twins we will be able to work out whether genetic factors are most important in determining this variation or whether other factors such as diet or illness also play a significant role. Secondly, we want to find out whether there is a relationship between the timing of emergence of the primary teeth and the growth of bacteria in the mouth that may lead to dental decay. It seems that the most likely source of the bacteria that can cause dental decay is a baby's mother and that children infected before three years of age are more likely to get dental decay subsequently. We will determine when decay-producing bacteria first appear in the mouth and check whether the same types of bacteria are present in twins and their mothers. This information will enable us to sort out whether the process that allows bacteria to become established around the teeth has a strong genetic basis or not. If we can gain a better understanding of how genetic and environmental factors influence dental development, we will be in a better position to manage individuals with altered tooth emergence that can lead to crowded teeth. Furthermore, if we can demonstrate a link between tooth emergence, growth of oral bacteria, and development of dental decay, we should be able to determine the most effective time to introduce preventive measures to control dental disease.

Funding Amount $AUD 521,600.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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