DNA and Dentistry?

Thursday, October 17th, 2013, 12:31 am

The Human Genome Project, which mapped the entire human genetic code, was completed 10 years ago. A direct benefit of this project has been the advent of personalized medicine or using a persons DNA to pinpoint treatment. Could your DNA also help direct your dental treatment?

It turns out that the use of DNA in the dental office may not be too far in the future – particularly when it comes to the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry found a correlation between certain patient risk factors – genetic and acquired – and the benefit that they got from dental cleanings every six months. Patients who had diabetes, who smoked or who had a certain genetic marker were deemed at high risk of periodontal disease. Those who did not have these risk factors were at low risk.

They discovered that patients who were in the high risk group lost more teeth when they only had one yearly dental cleaning, two cleanings per year improved the risk but for these risky patients, more frequent dental cleanings were required to avoid tooth loss.

Losing teeth is not the only worry when it comes to gum disease. Periodontal disease causes inflammation throughout the body and, certain people have a type of genetic marker that makes them more susceptible to this inflammatory response. This inflammation seems to be the basis for the link between oral disease (periodontal disease) and systemic disease (disease of the body such as heart disease). It could be that in the future everyone will be tested to see just how sensitive they are to this inflammatory response and that can direct their dentist to tailor a more precise treatment for a specific patient.

Until that day arrives we all need to brush, floss and visit the dental hygienist every six months (more often if you are diabetic or a smoker). Find out more information about periodontal disease prevention by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

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Category: gum disease


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