The relationship between Oral Health and Genetics
Tooth decay is a significant problem globally. In fact, it is one of the top chronic diseases around the globe. However, merely taking good care of your teeth is not enough. According to scientists, your oral health depends on as much your dental hygiene practices as your genes. If you were to speak frankly, you know someone who hardly brushes their teeth, eats a lot of sugary food, and always has great looking teeth.
It is estimated that genes account for 60% of the risk of having teeth problems. Though this branch of research is still in its infancy, scientists have identified five areas where genes play an important role in oral health.
Preference for Sweets
While it is thought that all kids love sugar, that is not the case. The level of sweet affinity varies across individuals. Those with a stronger affinity for sweets will usually be at a higher risk of developing teeth problems.
This one is obvious. It just happens that some people have harder tooth enamel than others. If the enamel is too soft, it makes it easy for bacteria to penetrate the surface of teeth, which causes cavities. Since genes play an essential role in determining how tough the enamel will be, they have a significant impact on tooth decay.
Sense of Taste
For some people, cilantro is one of the best toppings they could ever taste. However, for others, it is as bland as a bar of soap. It was discovered after a study to identify how genes affect the ability to taste cilantro. For those without the right gene variant, they thought it was quite bland.
Scientists have found that there is a scale on what variety a person can taste. It goes beyond preference; it measures whether you can taste specific flavors. This complex mechanism involves the tongue and the sense of smell as well.
Studies have shown that people with an ability to taste a wide variety of flavors have less chance of developing tooth decay. However, scientists still do not understand why this is the case.
The Strength of Saliva
Potassium and calcium are two essential elements in determining the health of your teeth. However, acquiring these nutrients is not merely about consuming the right foods. You need to be able to metabolize them. Saliva plays an essential role in this process. Scientists have identified variants that make some people better able to do this than others.
There a field of study dedicated to identifying the microbes residing in your body. These microbes live in ecological equilibrium and are unique depending on the region and the individual. In the mouth, for instance, there are different communities of bacteria. Together, they make up the microbiome. It is all normal but how your immune system responds to this microbiome is what affects your oral health.
What about the Non-Genetic Factors
While it is true that your oral health will be affected by 60% genetics, there is still that 40% which you can control. The 40% can be broken down into what you do and where you live.
For instance, behaviors such as smoking, brushing, culture, access to dental services, and social factors as well. However, the most significant factor that scientists have identified for tooth decay is too many sugary drinks.
While sugar, in general, is not good for you in large quantities, sugary drinks are especially dangerous. For one, apart from sugar, these drinks are usually slightly acidic as well. Besides that, since the sugar is so refined, it can get to every corner of your mouth. It includes areas where an ordinary toothbrush cannot reach. It creates the perfect recipe for enamel corrosion and tooth decay.
Another factor that has been found to affect tooth definite is fluoride. This compound is found in toothpaste, municipal water supply and at your dentist’s office. It is the single biggest preventer of tooth decay known to man.
If you live in Beverly Hills, consider visiting smile Angles if you have a problem with your teeth. We can help to assess you free and possibly save you from tooth decay. Get in touch with us today.