Who’s to blame for bad teeth? Genes or the environment?

Can heredity influence the place of patients at greater risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease? The age-old complex question of whether genes or environmental factors are to blame for many of the poor health issues inflicting modern-day humans have slithered its way into the the focus of the dental industry. It was only a matter of time before researchers began to shine the spotlight on oral microbiomes and the role they play in dental health.

 Aspects of dental conditions controlled by genetics and environment

         Tooth decay

With the meteoric rise in the number of people experiencing tooth decay much focus and attention has been directed at this aspect of poor oral health. According to a report released by the Institute of Health and Welfare, three in ten adults between the ages of 25 to 44 suffered untreated tooth decay. The trend extends to children too. Results from the recent Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll suggest that one in three preschoolers have tooth decay. Much of the blame for this alarming trend lay at the foot of the environment. Patients need only look at the foods they consume to understand the cause of tooth decay.

The modern diet contains sugar-filled foods and beverages, which increases the likelihood of people developing dental diseases, such as cavities, tooth loss, gum disease, and bone resorption, which often calls for frequent dental visits to the family dentist rancho san diego or a dental firm in their neighborhood. Increased sugar intake exposes teeth to enamel-destroying bacteria. This bacterium responsible for tooth decay is usually acquired when the first signs of baby teeth become noticeable. Sugar also exacerbates demineralization (loss of minerals that result in compromised teeth structures) by creating an ideal environment for acid to attack the outer surfaces of teeth rapidly.

But this is not only where the story ends for tooth decay. Genetic makeup for some patients also plays a part. This is particularly so in cases where family genes influence the development of teeth. How teeth develop can result in tooth enamel’s sensitivity to bacteria.

Patients looking to replace lost due to tooth decay have a number of treatment options to consider. A qualified implant dentist can provide a patient with all-on-four dental implants or same day teeth depending on the patient’s individual situation and preference.

Tooth misalignment

Tooth misalignment issues that are corrected by orthodontic treatments can have both a genetic origin and be influenced by environmental factors. Heredity plays a role in criteria such as the size of the teeth and jaw. In addition to the genetic component, certain behaviors such as thumb sucking and the use of a dummy in childhood can determine how crooked a patient’s teeth can develop.

         Discoloured teeth

The color of teeth is also not as simple as black and white. Both genes and the environment (intrinsic and extrinsic) each play a role. Genetics influences the depth of white enamel – the thinner enamel promotes a ‘yellow’ appearance while environmental factors such as being exposed to excess fluoride in childhood and drinking tooth-staining beverages like coffee also contribute to tooth discoloring.

Need to restore lost teeth due to dental disease? Consult an experienced implant dentist at High Dental Implants Melbourne or elsewhere for all available options. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Andy