Scientists find important causes of gum diseases and tooth decay

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A recent study from Umeå University in Sweden found that hereditary traits and factors such as obesity, education, and personality could play a role in tooth decay and gum disease.

Tooth decay and periodontitis, also known as gum disease, are among the most common diseases around the world.

But unlike many other well-known diseases, how genes affect the risk of developing these dental diseases is still unclear.

Previous studies have shown several genes may be involved but none had been confirmed. This is because tooth decay and periodontitis are complex diseases and require large studies to draw firm conclusions.

In the study, the team combined data from nine international clinical studies with 62,000 participants together with data on self-reported dental health from the UK Biobank including 461,000 participants, making it the largest study of its kind.

Their analysis involved scanning millions of strategic points in the genome to find genes with links to dental diseases.

The researchers identified 47 new genes with connections to tooth decay. They also confirmed a previously known immune-related gene is linked to periodontitis.

Among the genes that could be linked to tooth decay are those that help form teeth and the jawbone, those with protective functions in saliva and those which affect the bacteria found on the teeth.

The researchers say that the study makes it clear that teeth are part of the body. There may be a causal link between tooth decay and risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking and obesity.

Good oral hygiene and healthy diets are the most important things people can do to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

If you care about gum health, please read studies about four health conditions linked to gum disease, and new gel could treat gum disease by fighting inflammation.

For more information about gum health, please see recent studies about mouthwash that may increase your tooth damage, and results showing scientists find effective prevention for tooth decay.

The study was conducted by Ingegerd Johansson et al and published in Nature Communications.

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