Does periodontal disease or dental caries run in your family? Is everyone around you losing their teeth, or getting extensive dental treatment done? With a family history of periodontal disease and dental caries, does that mean you have to accept the same fate as your relatives, or are these diseases actually preventable?
Genetics, basically is a way that previous generations of familial traits are passed down to future generations. Every cell in the human body contains 23 pairs of chromosomes with one chromosome in the pair inherited from each parent. Each Chromosome contains thousands of DNA gene sequences, some of which are active or expressed and others that are dormant. Many factors such as time, the environment and the type of cell containing the chromosome determine whether or not the gene will be expressed. Gene expression control is very important for proper growth, development and functioning of an organism.
Customarily, the passing of genetic traits and diseases is known as Mendelian inheritance patterns. Children inherit one chromosome from each parent, and depending on which gene is dominant, a trait or disease may develop in the child. These inheritances are either autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive or sex –linked. Other disorders are a result from defects found in multiple genes, these are called chromosomal anomalies. People with chromosomal anomalies may have dental and/or craniofacial anomalies related to these genetic modifications.
Many common diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, dental caries and periodontal diseases, are not inherited as a single gene defect but instead are the result of modifications in a gene expression or as a gene-environment interaction. Because these are considered “complex” diseases, which means not one gene is the cause of the disease, and they involve multiple interactions between genes and environmental factors. Environmental factors that may have an effect on these genes are things such as smoking, diet, stress, and environmental chemicals. So basically even though you may genetically be pre-disposed to these conditions, your lifestyle factors and surrounding environment can have a major influence on whether or not you develop (express) the condition.
Periodontal disease and caries findings are complex diseases with multiple gene and environmental risk factors. There isn’t a predictive test that can inform doctors or patients whether or not the patient will develop these oral diseases in the future. The best way to approach the assessment of caries and periodontal disease, as of now, is clinical measurements. Prevention is key in dentistry, if dentists are able to prevent the disease and establish proper maintenance, the best outcome for the patient can be achieved.
If you are concerned about your family dental history, schedule an appointment with us today to discuss ways in preventing oral disease and maintaining a healthy mouth.