Streptococcus bacteria

Tooth Decay -Genetic or Environmental?

September 4th, 2019

It’s easy to blame somethings on our parents, but recent research shows that you shouldn’t blame tooth decay on genetics. In the past it has been thought that our risk of developing cavities is similar to our family members. However, more research is showing that tooth decay boils down mainly to environmental factors rather than genetics. Although we can’t just easily point to our parents when we develop a cavity, this can be a good thing because tooth decay is largely preventable! Take a look at what influences your risk of tooth decay and how you can prevent it:

Interestingly enough, we are made up of good bacteria that help us survive. However, some of the bacteria found within the mouth can feed on sugars within the foods we eat and lead to tooth decay. These bacteria produce acids that wear down our tooth enamel and create what we all dread and know to be cavities. These bacteria often come after birth, and with more research specific bacteria are being found to play a role in creating cavities. While some bacteria we do inherit from our parents, others that have been linked to causing dental cavities are not found to be associated with genetics, including Streptococcus mutants, and Porphyromonas gingivalis. The study conducted by the J. Craig Venter Institute in Maryland evaluated 485 pairs of identical and fraternal twins within the age range of 5 to 11 years old. When analyzing the study participants’ dental plaque and bacteria present within the mouth, they found that environmental factors played a significant role in the type of bacteria present that were associated with causing tooth decay. The bacteria responsible for causing tooth decay were mainly due to factors including diet and home care dental habits such as brushing and flossing. However, family history is important when looking at risks of tooth decay, for instance similar food diets shared between family members could increase or lower the risk of tooth decay.

What you may be able to blame genes for is the development of teeth. Such as the relationship between your teeth when biting together, the timing in which your teeth first appear, or even the size of teeth (macrodontia or microdontia).

So, while somethings you may get away with being able to blame your parents for, tooth decay is largely in part influenced by environmental factors. This is why it’s extremely important to get regular dental check-ups, and practice good oral hygiene care to ensure that your teeth are healthy and lasting lifetime!

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.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.




Save your Child from the Most Common Chronic Childhood Disease

March 16th, 2019

Parents try their hardest to keep their kids from experiencing harm and pain. It can be heartbreaking to see your child or loved one suffer from tooth aches and tooth decay. No matter the age, babies, kids, teens, adults, and elders can unfortunately develop dental cavities. It is commonly known that tooth decay develops as bacteria feed off of the left-over food particles on our teeth by producing acids that wear down tooth enamel. But, you may be wondering, "how is tooth decay possible for babies who aren't even consuming solid foods?" You may have heard of the term, baby bottle tooth decay, which is a leading factor for a high rate of cavities in babies who particularly go to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice in their crib.  Milk, which we know to be good for bone growth and development, does contain sugar so when it is constantly in contact on baby teeth throughout the night, it can lead to the development of cavities and future oral health problems for little ones. Baby bottle tooth decay can also be a sign that nutrients and natural healthy bacteria that help fight cavities may be out of balance in your child. When baby teeth become decayed, not only can it affect incoming permanent teeth, but also can negatively impact chewing, drinking, speaking, and the growth of the mouth. The decay may present itself with this appearance:

It is therefore important to develop good oral hygiene habits and nutritional diet from a early age.  Our oral microbiome, or the normal friendly bacteria within our mouths, are needed to help us fight infections and keep the harmful bacteria from attacking our immune system. For instance, Streptococcus mutans, is typically the main bacterial culprit in causing tooth decay. Babies often get a load of healthy probiotics through breastfeeding and gains vitamins including A, D, and K through breastmilk.

We must encourage our children to eat healthy and also monitor their brushing and oral habits to help ensure strong teeth and a healthier overall body. For children under the age of 3, a smear of fluoride toothpaste on a child sized toothbrush is recommended for toothbrushing.

It is recommended that your child have their first dental visit by age 1 or within 6 months of their first baby tooth erupting. This is very important as the enamel of baby teeth is not as strong as adult's. Be sure to see if the community you live in has fluoridated water. Fluoride, which can be applied at dental visits, and found in toothpastes, and natural water, helps fight tooth decay and remineralize tooth enamel. In addition, try to switch your child from a bottle to a regular cup as soon as possible because the liquid is less likely to sit for a long time on teeth.

If your child has extensive tooth decay but the tooth is still deemed restorable by the dentist, stainless steel crowns are the recommended treatment option by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Otherwise, extraction and space maintenance may be required.  Losing a baby tooth earlier than expected can lead to crowding when the permanent teeth come in, as well as other oral issues. Tooth decay can also surprisingly be passed from the mother or caregiver to an infant or child through saliva. Be sure to keep feeding utensils and pacifiers clean.

Save your child from experiencing tooth pain, trouble sleeping, oral infections, growth issues, and time away from school for additional dental treatments that could be prevented.

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.




Reap the Potential Benefits of Coconut Oil

February 11th, 2016

cYou may have heard about oil pulling in the news, on blogs, or from friends. This latest trend is actually an old Indian oral therapy dating back 3,000 years! It's an inexpensive practice that involves the gentle swishing of approximately 1 tablespoon of oil through the teeth for about 10 minutes daily before rinsing out. However, it should be well noted that this procedure should never replace brushing, flossing, and other daily dental habits.

Research has found that coconut oil may be effective in keeping our mouths healthy. It was tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria, which are often found in the oral cavity and aid in producing acids that cause tooth decay. The study reported that the oil was able to fight off cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. A beneficial ingredient of coconut oil is lauric acid, which is well-known for its anti-microbial agents that help defeat gingivitis, plaque, and microbes that cause bad breath.

Not to mention, recently, there has been news of individuals using coconut oil as toothpaste (for both humans and pets!). The suggested reasons behind this trend are that coconut oil does not contain harmful antibacterial chemicals, for example triclosan, which are sometimes found in traditional toothpastes. These harmful chemicals have raised concerns about antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption. In addition, coconut oil is believed to help maintain a healthier balance of lipids on your tongue in comparison to some toothpastes. Toothpastes often contain chemicals that create the foam-like texture of the toothpaste, including sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). These chemicals interfere with phospholipids found on the tongue, which as a result can create a bitter taste in your mouth. Research has found that SLS may even negatively impact the health of individuals with recurring canker sores. However, further research is needed to prove the effectiveness of using coconut oil as toothpaste.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group 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. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.


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