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Genetics Play a Huge Role in Dental Health, Study Finds

cosmetic dental surgeryA new study from the Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh has produced some interesting findings about the cause of common dental health issues. According to Mary L. Marazita, director of the dental genetics program, up to 60% of the risk for dental issues, from caries to premature discoloration, comes from genetic quirks that cause a predisposition to certain conditions. This explains why even with dietary and dental hygiene habits that work to combat common issues for many people, others are left taking a trip to their local cosmetic dental clinic multiple times a year.

What Sorts of Things Are Affected by Genetics?
As ABC News reports, the field of dental genetics is relatively new, meaning that scientists aren’t sure how genetics play into dental cosmetics and overall tooth health. Just as our genetics help to form our teeth, every one of which is as unique as a fingerprint, many scientists in the fields of family and cosmetic dentistry posit poor genetics affect teeth in a number of key ways.

  • Some genes produce stronger saliva than others. Since saliva works to reinforce teeth with important minerals, like calcium, while simultaneously washing away acid and detritus, this makes it more likely teeth will stain or form cavities. Needless to say, this could help define who will need to seek out cosmetic dental surgery in their lifetime.
  • Genetics may also be responsible for producing softer enamel. In most, enamel is the strongest substance in their bodies, stronger even than bone. Since enamel functions as a shield around our teeth, the softer it is, the weaker its ability to protect our teeth.
  • Eating too many sweets is one of the leading causes of dental problems and the need for cosmetic dental surgery. While many blame having a sweet tooth on personal choice, the insatiable appetite for sugary treats may also be genetic.

Can You Combat Genetic Predisposition?
Until dental science advances to the stuff of science fiction, scientists are hard pressed to combat genetic predisposition to dental issues that start as soon as we begin growing teeth in the womb; however, that shouldn’t be read to mean that you can’t do anything to keep your teeth looking great and avoid cosmetic dental surgery. As the UK’s National Health Service suggests, there are a number of simple lifestyle changes you can commit to in order to keep your teeth healthy, including:

  • Try cutting down on the sugary drinks. Carbonated beverages, from soda to beer, are both acidic and full of the refined sugar teeth-eating bacteria love to feed on.
  • Drinking more water is a simple step in combating tooth decay. Water helps produce saliva, and that in turn will help keep your chompers looking pearly white.
  • Practice smart dental hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day before meals to better combat discoloration, cavities, and hostile bacteria growth.

Are you surprised with the findings from the University of Pittsburgh? Do you think genetics might be the cause of your chronic dental problems? Let us know what you think in the comments below.