Monday, 2 July 2018

Should We Blame Our Genes for the Bacteria Behind Tooth Decay?


Surely, most of our habits, characteristics, and features come from our parents, but there are certain things we call upon ourselves. For instance, over-eating, smoking, alcohol addiction, lack of hygiene, etc., are all the lifestyle choices that lead us to serious health conditions. Tooth decay is one of them.

Though it is convenient to blame your genes for tooth decay, especially when you are brushing regularly, the Cell Host & Microbe study reveals otherwise. Let's learn more about this study in detail and factors that actually responsible for dental caries or tooth decay.

What Causes Tooth Decay?
  • Tooth decay occurs when plaque sticks to a tooth and releases an acid that destroys the enamel which creates a cavity or a hole. The other common causes of tooth decay include: 
  • poor oral hygiene, for instance, not brushing teeth regularly, skipping flossing, not cleaning the tongue, etc. 
  • consuming foods that are high in sugar, carbohydrates, and acid. 
  • smoking, or breathing secondhand smoke 
  • skipping regular screenings and dental checkups. 
  • having dry mouth, or not enough saliva. 
Are Your Genes Responsible for Tooth Decay?

Though it is proven that Streptococcus mutans are majorly responsible for tooth decay, the extent of whether it is due to genetic or environmental factors is still a question mark.

Therefore, a study was conducted to examine the role of genetics in children's oral microbiome (bacteria that lives in your mouth). In this study, total 485 (fraternal and identical) twins of age 5-11 years participated.

The notion behind this study was to observe and find the link between oral microbiome and genetics as the twins' were most likely share the same environment.

On testing the tooth plaque swabs samples, the researchers found that the bacteria present in the participants' mouth was hereditary. However, it was not the same oral bacteria that were responsible for tooth decay formation.

Instead, the type of bacteria that caused tooth decay was stimulated by exposure to sugary foods that were more likely to be influenced by the environment.

With further examination, the researchers also found that the heritable bacteria in people reduced as they get older. And, the bacteria associated with environmental factors multiplied over time leading to tooth decay or dental caries.

In a Nutshell

This study shows that both genes and the environment control the bacteria on our teeth and gums. However, the problem of tooth decay can be prevented with simple care.

How Can It Be Prevented?

So, is it still fair to hold your genes responsible for your crooked teeth? We guess not. Then, how to avoid it? Well, the only way out from this condition is by maintaining proper dental hygiene. Follow these quick tips to ensure you are taking proper care of your teeth.

  • Brush your teeth after eating. 
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride as it will help in strengthening your tooth enamel. 
  • Keep mouthwash handy. While it is not possible to brush teeth after every meal, make sure you rinse your mouth well to flush out the remains of food. 
  • Reduce the consumption of sugary foods and beverages. Instead, eat foods that are rich in probiotics, for instance, cheese, sauerkraut, sour pickles, yogurt, kimchi, etc. 
  • Also, consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables like apple, carrot, celery to boost oral health. 
Your oral health is in your hands. Make sure you are careful enough. Besides, if you face any problems, consult a dentist right away to avoid ending up with something major.

Contributor Bio - The blog is presented by Sharda Hospital. Sharda Hospital is one of the largest super speciality hospitals in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR).

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