Scientists decipher tooth decay bug’s genome

Researchers in Oklahoma have deciphered the complete genome sequence of Streptococcus mutans, the main organism implicated in causing tooth decay. The work, supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, has been made freely available online. Said one of the team members involved in the four-year effort: “Building on this basic research may one day lead us to new approaches for preventing and treating tooth decay.” Added another: “By targeting the adherence genes, for example, we might be able to develop a way of preventing S. mutans from sticking to teeth.”