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Dental health is in the genes

Our dental health could be more down to our genes than previously thought, new research has found.

Certain patients may need to visit their dentist less than the recommended amount, with very little proven evidence of necessary bi-annual appointments. However some should most likely be having more regular check ups if their family has a history of periodontitis.

A study of over 5,100 local adults at the University of Michigan revealed that many factors affect our teeth despite a rigorous oral hygiene regime, with our family history being a key element. Dental care and recommendations should be specific to each patient to meet their needs.

The study assessed the top three factors of periodontal diseases – smoking, diabetes and genetics – along with statistics of tooth extraction.

Those who underwent biannual visits had a tooth removal rate of 17 per cent, whilst those who saw a dentist only once a year had a 22 per cent extraction rate. This extremely small difference suggests that other factors are at play.

Professor William Giannobile, leader of the research, said: “We think that now with this new information, we’re able to treat patients at the individual level…instead of a one-size-fits-all treatment.”

Professor Giannobile told the New York Times: “If you are high risk, it is much more important for you to be seen frequently, but for the low-risk people it’s not.”

Whilst this research could provide answers to many patients problems, it is still true that periodontitis affects 47 per cent of the adult population and over 65 million people have some sort of chronic inflammatory gum disease.

It is still extremely important that this development does not affect patient attitudes towards their own dental hygiene regime. Prevention is still the best cure and dental marketing can provide an excellent reminder that you should brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day.

Helpful dental posters and dental welcome packs can give high-quality information on the correct way to look after your teeth.

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