Dentists Approach Genetic Frontier

A recent publication in the Australian Dental Journal discusses the probable role genetics will play in the future of dentistry. Researchers from the University of Adelaide’s School of Dentistry spoke earlier this month about the preventative power of using epigenetics in relation to oral health. Epigenetics is all about how a person’s different genes are expressed in different given situations. Different genes are always being switched on and off. This is important in oral health because this sort of gene action can create both healthy and unhealthy states in our mouth.  clean, tongue, oral hygiene

More About Epigenetics

Our genetic code, or our DNA, has all the information we need to function. However, our epigenetic code decides when and where these different genes are expressed and activated. In this particular article researchers compared the epigenetic code to a conductor of an orchestra. Without it, the genetic code, is just an orchestra playing randomly with no guidance. The human genome was completed in 2003 and just four years after that epigenetics was called the “breakthrough of the year” by the journal Science. Since then more and more has been published on the role of epigenetics in medicine in biology. The use of epigenetics in dentistry, however, is a fairly new concept. Because epigenetics plays an important role in the development of dental disease, researchers only expect epigenetics to become more important to oral health and dentistry.

Researchers believe that there is a chance that we can influence the way genes behave, when and how they are expressed and how they respond to different circumstances. While there’s nothing we can do to change the actual genetic code, there’s a possibility that we could change when genes are shut on and off for the better. Researchers said that they now have several different factors to look at when studying a person’s oral health:

  • Individual genomes; plays role in dental development, risk of oral diseases.

  • Oral microbiota.

  • Epigenetic profile of patient.

With all three of these to look at now it should be easier than ever to provide personalized dental care. Researchers hope to be able to screen for oral health issues at an earlier age and prevent them entirely. There’s also a strong tie between epigenetics and the inflammation and other responses that lead to periodontal disease and oral cancers.

Epigenetic testing is still in the earliest stages. While the future of oral health and prevention looks bright, you’re probably going to have to stick to the old methods for now.

  • Brush twice a day for two minutes, with your brush at a 45 degree angle in small, circular motions.

  • Floss once between every tooth in a “C” shape, guiding the floss gently to the gumline.

  • Avoid sugary or carbohydrate laden foods. Make sure you get plenty of the vitamins you need for a healthy smile through your diet.

  • Visit your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning. Be sure to discuss any concerns you might have with your dentist.

Call Dr. Bosse of Greenspoint Dental today and schedule an appointment.