Inherited risks for susceptibility to dental caries

November 12, 2012

Inherited risks for susceptibility to dental caries

How can one person possibly understand the complexity of human bodies and the genetic inheritance they get from their parents if not through specific examples that could explain it all and good reasoning for everything that happens in their bodies? Last but not least important, how can anyone understand the processes in a human body without having even the slighest idea of the most important and explanatory medical terms? They can’t, that’s the answer. This is why, when talking about dental and other diseases there needs to be at least a little understanding of the relationship between cause and effect.

Here is a situation

One can go to the dentist and say he takes great care of his oral hygiene: brushes teeth at least twice a day, uses different types of mouthwashes and doesn’t even forget about the dental floss. Still, the dentist tells him he has caries, also known as tooth decays or cavities. Some other person, talking to the same doctor recognizes that by different reasoning he/she does not take that much care of their oral hygiene, has never heard of mouthwashes, fluoride toothpastes or dental floss. The doctor, after examining the patient is pleasantly surprised. He sees no tooth decay, no other dental disease. Everything looks great. Now you tell yourself: that’s impossible!!! It isn’t. This is a common situation which can be explained only by understanding the genetic inheritance of the host factors that affect the dental caries incidence.

Host factors

  • The genetic modification of dental enamel;

  • The immune response;

  • The dietary consumption of sugar;

  • The saliva.

The dental hard tissue is the target for acid dissolution by cariogenic bacteria, this is why specialists pay attention to the genetic contribution of altered enamel biomineralization in what concerns the incidence of caries.

Alterations in the immune response reduse the clearance of the bacteria. Individuals with either an inherited or acquired immune deficiency are subject to increased risks for and incidence of dental caries.

The inherited deficiencies in sugar metabolism could alter the substrate availability. A paradoxical relationship between the sensitivity to taste sugar and the incidence of dental caries has been identified. This question hasn’t yet been sufficiently detailed.

The inheritance of parameters related either to salivary flow or saliva constituents also have influence upon the incidence of caries. Studies have shown that xerostomia, the medical term for the subjective complaint of dry mouth due to a lack of saliva is associated with dramatically increased rates of dental caries.

These four searches provided a broadly based analysis of several inherited properties that have different roles in the multifactorial pathogenesis of dental caries. The human genome, along with the 21st century resourses can provide more than an interesting approach to all that means medicine and health.

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