Do Your Genetics Increase Your Gum Disease Risk?

general dentist in Aloha

As a general dentist in Aloha, Dr. Bronitsky remains dedicated to providing the community with the type of quality dental care needed for her patients to enjoy a healthy, great-looking smile for a lifetime.

With almost 10 percent of the world’s population dealing with severe gum disease, a condition known as periodontitis, quality dental care is the key to avoiding the types of oral health problems that can lead to permanent tooth loss. While brushing and flossing remain the two most important habits for a patient to reduce their risk for dental disease and decay, oral hygiene alone may not be enough.

A recent study sought to determine whether a person’s genetics may play an equally important role in determining their oral health. In the study, researchers set out to determine whether an individual’s genes or the unique composition of oral bacteria in the mouth might increase some patient’s risk for developing severe gum disease.

The results of the study were published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

What Role do Genetics Play?

A variety of risk factors have been linked to gum disease that range from smoking and stress to obesity and diabetes. To determine the possible effect an individual’s oral microbiome – the collection of oral bacteria in their mouth – and their genes have on gum disease risk, researchers examined data collected on over 14,000 Japanese adults during a four-year period.

Each participant had received an oral exam, completed a questionnaire on their oral hygiene habits, and had provided a saliva sample that was analyzed for certain genetic markers. The research team then selected 22 participants with no other risk factors for gum disease and separated them into groups – one with severe gum disease and another control group with healthy mouths. After analyzing the oral bacteria found in the mouths of both groups, researchers discovered some significant differences.

The microbes found in the mouths of participants with gum disease were different, and more diverse, than what was found in the control group. Unlike the control group, participants with gum disease were found to have high levels of certain types of bacteria, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, that previous research has identified as a primary contributor of gum disease development.

However, the one factor that researchers didn’t detect as having a significant impact on an individual’s oral health was their genetic makeup.

The composition of an individual’s oral bacteria is far more likely to predispose someone to gum disease rather than their DNA, concluded the research team.

The results of this study are actually good news for patients. Genetics can predispose a patient to a variety of health issues, but maintaining the health of your teeth and gums isn’t simply a matter of genetic luck. By making a commitment to brushing and floss, and by scheduling regular exams and cleanings with your general dentist in Aloha, you can successfully lower your risk for gum disease.

Your Oral Health Matters

Decades worth of research has found that the state of an individual’s oral health significantly affects their risk for a variety of health problems. Patients experiencing tooth decay and gum disease have a significantly higher risk for developing a range of chronic health conditions that include heart disease, diabetes, dementia, obesity, and cancer.

By visiting your general dentist in Aloha, Dr. Bronitsky and help to protect not only your oral health, but your overall health as well.