Tooth decay and gum disease are two of the most common chronic diseases worldwide. There are some people who practice poor oral hygiene habits and never get a cavity, while others diligently brush and floss, but are prone to gum disease and cavities. At our dental centre in Westmount, many patients ask if genetics play a role in their oral health. The answer to that question can be complex, and our experienced team is dedicated to staying abreast of the most recent findings in oral health research about the causes and risk factors of gum disease and tooth decay.
Do Genetics Play A Role In Your Oral Health?
Scientists have long believed that the health of your teeth and gums depends on a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Two studies published by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, found that variations in a gene called beta defensin 1 (DEFB1), which plays a crucial role in the first-line immune response against invading microorganisms, may be linked to a greater risk of tooth decay and advanced periodontitis (gum disease).
Treating Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Although no predictive tests for these conditions currently exist, early diagnosis and treatment go a long way in preventing and halting decay and gum disease. If you have a family history of these conditions, make sure to mention it when you visit your Westmount dental clinic. Treatments such as sealants and fluoride varnishes can prevent and halt decay, especially in children and adolescents, and early treatment of gum disease can keep it from progressing.
If left untreated, both tooth decay and gum disease can cause infection and eventually lead to tooth loss. Visiting your Westmount dentist for frequent cleanings and exams can ensure that any oral health problems you may be facing are diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Your hygienist at your dental clinic in Westmount can also advise you on how to brush and floss correctly and recommend specially formulated dental hygiene products that provide an increased defense against decay and gum disease.