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Lost Your Teeth? Look In Your Genes

Jun 24, 2013

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Like most health related issues in life, our oral health is also based on genetics.  Research has shown that the problems in our mouths are not just because we don’t brush well.  Some people are just genetically prone to bad teeth – ahem, Austin Powers.

Forty-seven percent of the American population suffers from gum disease.  A 16-year study provided insight on periodontitis and its largest causes.  The study explored several key risk factors: smoking, diabetes and genetics.  Researchers viewed dental records and claims and performed genetic testing on over 5,000 subjects.  While all of the factors were major contributors, it was determined that subjects with variations of the IL-1 genotype were a higher risk rate for tooth loss

Since nearly one in three Americans carry this genetic variation, the study results show that preventative oral care is extremely important.  By using these genetic identifiers as guidelines, dentists are starting to put a more personal spin on their patient’s dental care.  "Dentistry has long been a leader in the delivery of preventive healthcare to patients. The findings of this study provide dental clinicians with the opportunity to offer personalized, preventive care that is based on new insights into the importance of genetic risk factors," said Dr. Kenneth Kornman, Chief Executive Officer of Interleukin Genetics, which developed the genetics test used in the study.

Plaque and bacteria create the breeding ground for periodontal disease.  Combined with genetic factors which heavily influence the inflammatory response to the bacteria, tooth loss can be inevitable if you don’t take care of your oral health.  Periodontal disease can also affect other areas of your well being.  Your cardiovascular health, the risk of diabetes as well as rheumatoid arthritis could all be issues.  If you are prone to these conditions, make sure you have a great dental plan and schedule dental check-ups three to four times a year. 

Sources: Medical News Today,

Copyright 2013, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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