Caries remains the most prevalent noncontagious biofilm-mediated disease in humans. It is clear that the current approaches to decrease the prevalence of caries in human populations, including water fluoridation and school-based programs, are not enough to protect everyone. The scientific community has suggested the need for innovative work in a number of areas in cariology, encompassing disease etiology, epidemiology, definition, prevention, and treatment. In this symposium, two of these areas, dealing specifically with etiological aspects of caries were discussed: (1) systematic research on caries risk assessment using population-based cohort techniques, and (2) genetic studies to identify genes and genetic markers of diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic value. This paper summarizes these presentations.
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