Sunday, October 1, 2017

Genetic Connection to Cavity Configuration

A recent article published through Discover Magazine gave an eye opening outlook on the foundation of cavities. Cavities, also known as dental caries, are caused by breakdown of tooth enamel which results in tooth decay. Studies have shown that poor hygiene may not be the only cause for this. Sugary and acidic substances have always been known as the main culprit of cavities. However, scientists recently learned that genes, as well as environmental and individual oral microbiomes, play a part in the forming of cavities too. A study was performed that examined the factors linked to tooth decay. The study consisted of 485 pairs of twins of ages between five and eleven, both identical and fraternal. Both types of twins were observed because identical twins are genetically identical while fraternal twins are not. This allows researchers to study the role of genes in trait and disease inheritance. Research revealed that genes do in fact effect oral microbiome configuration, however, the bacteria species did not. It was also discovered that as the ages of the children increase, their inherited parental microbes decrease. This is because new environmental microbes are initiated. Researchers found that a certain bacteria species associated with cavities were linked in high quantity to the children that consumed more sugary substances, while the ones that did not consume sugar often did not hold that particular bacteria as much. This bacteria was not found to be contrived by genes. With that being said, eating habits consist of a big part in cavity forming, but they are not the only factor that comes into play. As a pre-dental student, this article was extremely interesting to me. I've always done my best to steer clear of sweets and sodas because I've always believed that they caused cavities. It's very interesting to learn that my genes may be able to keep my teeth safe if I want to indulge in some goodies. Both of my parents do have healthy teeth, so I can understand where my oral health has come from. The study of ones oral microbiome can detect the possibility of cavity formation, as well as many other health risks. This can keep one far from a dentist, doctor or medical specialist for quite some time since oral health can be the opening gates for additional health issues.

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