If you are paying good attention to your oral health and you are still prone to cavities, it may be a genetic problem. According to researchers from Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, tooth decay and severe form of periodontitis can occur as a result of genetic variations.
Dr. Alexandre Vieira from Pitt has found out a connection between dental caries and individual variations in a gene which is known as beta defensin 1 (DEFB1). This gene is known for provoking immune response when germs invade the gums.
There are two research papers by Vieira in this regard. In the first research paper, Dr. Vieira said, “we were able to use data gathered from our dental registry and the DNA Repository — the only one of its kind in the world — to see if certain polymorphisms were associated with the development of caries. This could help us find new ways to treat people who are particularly susceptible to tooth decay, a problem that afflicts millions of Americans."
The researchers, after analyzing 300 dental records that also included saliva samples from Pitt’s registry assigned each case a DMFT score and a DMFS score. DMFT score is referred to the sum of permanent teeth that are decayed, missing or filled. DMFS score is based on the sum of teeth which are decayed, missing or have filled surfaces.
The second research paper was published online at PLoS one which is an online journal dedicated to reviewed scientific and medical research. In this study, Vieira and Pitt researchers worked with researchers from Brazil to study saliva samples of 389 people in 55 families. In this research, they tried to find out connection between genes and risk of severe periodontitis which is an infection related to severe destruction of gums, teeth and jawbone. This infection is most commonly found in the people of Africa and those of African descent.
The researchers were able to find connection between risk of disease and FAM5C gene. More specifically, the FAM5C gene was found to be more influenced by periodontal disease.
Vieira says, “The FAM5C gene recently was implicated in cardiovascular disease, in which inflammation plays a role, just as in periodontitis. More research is needed to see if variation in the gene is associated with different activity profiles."