Is there a link between genetics and increased prevalence of tooth decay?

11 January 2019

Genetic research across a diverse range of areas is establishing that some people, despite brushing, flossing and making healthy lifestyle choices, have an increased incidence of caries and possibly, gum disease. 

Studies have shown, for instance, that genetic alterations in the two types of proteins responsible for amelogenesis, the process responsible for the formation of enamel, can predispose a person to a greater risk of caries. 

Similarly, everything from immunological responses to saliva production and a person’s ability to tolerate fructose or detect bitter tastes can play a role too. 

The jury is still out on whether genes are a factor in periodontitis with News Medical noting that “a detailed analysis and research is still required to fully explore and validate their contribution in the pathogenesis of this disease.” 

An understanding of why there is a heightened prevalence of caries and gum disease across certain groups is important because it will allow for implementation of active disease prevention measures across affected groups.