Is there a Genetic Component to my Kid's Tooth Decay?

Our genes make us who we are and seem to play a significant role in many conditions in our lives. However, according to a recent study (“Genetic and Early Life Environmental Influences on Dental Caries Risk: A Twin Study), tooth decay may not be one of the conditions influenced by genetics. But what about your lifestyle habits? Recent research shows that environmental factors rather than genetics could be the main culprit influencing the development of tooth decay.

The study done at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia drew several interesting conclusions. By analyzing 173 sets of identical and non-identical twins from pregnancy up to age six, they found that genes did not impact the prevalence of tooth decay. Identical twins with the same genetic makeup were not found to have the same amount of tooth decay. Instead, outside factors such as fluoride availability, diet, and oral hygiene habits may be playing the most important role in the onset of dental cavities. 

In addition, the study recorded and observed the mother's weight, health conditions, medication use, vitamin D levels, stress, alcohol intake and smoking habits during pregnancy through a questionnaire. The researchers discovered a link between the mother’s health and habits during pregnancy with the susceptibility of dental caries. Obesity in pregnancy was associated with a higher risk of tooth decay in children. Unfortunately, in the United States, tooth decay is the #1 most common childhood disease. Even in Australia the researchers found that one in every three children have tooth decay as early as their first day starting school. But, the good news is, tooth decay is highly preventable! It is important to start practicing good oral hygiene habits and live a healthy lifestyle from an early age to help protect your smile and body. This way the risk of developing other systemic issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems can be minimized.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. DerekDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.


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