Genetics and Oral Health

There is a good chance that you grew up being taught that the answer to having a healthy smile and not getting cavities is to brush and floss on a regular basis, but that might not be completely true. While brushing, flossing and trips to your Jacksonville, Florida dentist are important, it isn’t the only thing that influences your oral health. Surprisingly, genetics plays a huge role.

Recent Research Suggests a Potential Link Between Genetics and Tooth Decay

To better understand if there is a link between genetics and tooth decay, a research team from the J. Craig Venter Institute conducted an extensive study into the topic. The results they were able to obtain were surprising.

The study, which was performed over a period of a few years, examined the oral health of identical twins. Identical twins are often ideal for studies like this because their genetic makeup is also identical. The only variables are the oral hygiene habits of the twins as they age.

The focus of the study was to determine what impacted the amount of tooth decay developing bacteria. Researchers wanted to know if it was genetics or other factors such as oral hygiene and diet that played a role in increasing the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Once the study was completed, researchers were able to determine a surprising fact. Genetics do play an important role in the development of bacteria in the mouths children. It was determined that as people age genetics plays less or a role in the development of tooth decay. Instead, lifestyle choices such as regularly visiting the dentist, brushing and flossing daily, and eating a proper diet, played a bigger role in the development of tooth decay than genetics.

What can be Done to Prevent Tooth Decay from Causing Problems?

While there isn’t a whole lot you can do about genetics, there are steps that you can take to prevent tooth decay from causing problems.

For children, you can take the following steps to help prevent problems from tooth decay:

  • Schedule regular visits to the dentist
  • Establish good oral hygiene habits such as brushing three times a day and flossing at least once
  • Make sure any cavities are properly treated
  • Schedule regular cleanings to help prevent the spread of tooth decay throughout the mouth  

For adults, the following steps can be taken to help prevent tooth decay from causing problems:

  • Visit the dentist’s office at least every six months for a checkup
  • Schedule a regular cleaning with your Jacksonville dentist
  • Undergo treatment for gum disease if it is present in the mouth
  • Properly treat any cavities that may have formed in the mouth
  • Eat a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Brush at least three times a day
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Minimize the amount of acidic foods and drinks you consume

Work with an Experienced Dentist to Create a Customized Dental Care Plan

Unfortunately, if your genetics determine you are at a high risk for tooth decay the best thing you can do is work with a dentist to create an individualized dental care plan that will help keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy. Dr. Shields understands how the the wellness of the whole body depends on the wellness of the mouth. She can help you do your best to maintain the health of your oral tissues no matter what you genetic predisposition. 

Dr. Shields takes a holistic approach to dentistry. Instead of focusing just on treating problems with harmful or toxic chemicals or products, she tries to create a treatment plan that improves your overall dental health and wellness. Each treatment plan is customized to meet your needs and includes all-natural treatment options that include ozone therapy, mercury free fillings, and natural cleanings. Treatment plans can also include other services including dental implants, crowns, veneers, teeth whitening, and orthodontics.

It is Dr. Shields’ goal to work with you to either treat existing dental problems that may be impacting your overall health or try to help you maintain your current health by providing regular checkups and cleanings.

Call the staff at Smiles by Shields today to learn more about holistic dentistry or to schedule an appointment to see Dr. Tiffany K. Shields.



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Smiles by Shields
3940 San Jose Park Dr.
Jacksonville, FL 32217