Genetic taste sensitivity and dental caries in children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
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PROP test (6-n-propylthiouracil) for the identification of genetic sensitivity to caries in young individuals has emerged as a useful tool for caries risk assessment. To systematically appraise available evidence on the association between genetic taste sensitivity, as detected by (PROP), and caries. Seven databases, as of March 2020, were searched. Search terms included 'caries', 'taste predisposition', 'PROP'. Risk of bias assessment was performed using ROBINS-I tool, and the quality of evidence was assessed with GRADE. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to synthesize data, and pooled effects were estimated through standardized mean differences (SMDs) and associated confidence Intervals (95% CIs). Of 92 articles initially retrieved, 12 were eligible for inclusion. Seven contributed to the meta-analyses. All were cross-sectional studies, with moderate-to-serious risk of bias. The non-tasters of PROP exhibited a significantly higher value for the DMFT compared with tasters (SMD: 1.23; 95% CI: 0.90, 1.56; P < .001), whereas the association for the DMFS was SMD: 1.34; 95% CI: 0.66, 2.01; P < .001 (non-tasters versus super-tasters). The quality of evidence was very low overall. Within the limitations of this study, non-tasters to PROP exhibited higher caries experience, with subsequent clinical implications for follow-up and management of the 'high-susceptibility' individuals.