Since a child shares the genetic makeup of his or her parents, innumerable physical traits are passed from one generation to the next: height, eye and hair color, facial structure, etc. More recently, scientists have been finding possible evidence that weight (or metabolism) is a genetic trait.
But what about tooth decay, and oral health in general? Can they be scientifically linked back to your parents and grandparents?
A study published in the Journal of Dental Research that was originally focused on finding whether taste preferences were genetic, found something completely unexpected. It found that variations within an individual’s taste pathway genes could impact not only an individual’s preference for a particular food, but also his or her risk of being susceptible to tooth decay.
In the study, families recruited by the Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia (COHRA) gave biological samples and demographic data for the study. Researchers also clinically assessed the health of the volunteers’ mouths, including the amount of dental decay. Software was used to analyze the three stages of dental development — baby teeth, mixed dentition, and adult teeth.
The research found that there were statistically significant connections between the taste genes and the risk of decay or protection against it.
Although this research is still preliminary, it might not be a bad idea to come in to check-up if you know you have a poor family dental history.
Dr. Jill B. Smith, DMD and her talented team always screens for gum disease and oral cancer as well. Depending on the level of progression of decay, Dr. Smith may recommend a tooth-colored filling or a full tooth replacement, implant or bridge.
Call (617) 742-1220 or request an appointment online today!