Does DNA Play A Role In Periodontitis?

September 12, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

When it comes to our DNA, there’s still a lot we simply don’t know. Not for lack of trying, but there just hasn’t been enough research into these fascinating building blocks of life. But recently, scientists sought to discover what role, if any, DNA has on our oral microbiome, and if DNA makes us predispositioned to conditions like periodontitis.

Periodontitis affects millions of people around the world each year, causing tooth sensitivity, bleeding gums, gum recession, tooth-bone degradation, and more. It can be reversed, however, if you wait too long, it could cause a lot of irreparable damage, even causing loss of jaw bone and gum tissue.

The study used 14,000 Japanese adult subjects and took place with data over the years of 2013 to 2017. Using 22 participants, the study placed participants in two groups: those with periodontitis and those without. What they found may help set the DNA questions to rest.

You see, among those with periodontitis, the mouth’s oral microbiomes were vastly different than those with healthier teeth and gums. There was a higher prevalence of Lactobacillaceae and Desulfobulbaceae bacteria in the mouths of those with periodontal diseases, and Porphyromonas gingivalis was present only in the mouths of those with periodontal disease.

This means that while our DNA does not determine whether or not we will develop periodontal disease, our oral hygiene habits will determine whether we develop this type of illness. That makes caring for our teeth all the more important because periodontal diseases are preventable, but with severe cases of periodontitis, very difficult to eliminate from the mouth.

To reduce your risk of developing gingivitis or periodontitis, there are steps you can take. For starters, caring for your teeth at home is the important first step to heading off oral diseases. This means brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time and flossing at least once per day. It is also recommended that you brush your tongue to help eliminate bacteria, and an optional but beneficial step is rinsing prior to brushing with an alcohol-free over-the-counter mouthwash.

If you have periodontitis it is important that you get treated by Dr. Mingus to help stop this condition before it gets worse. To schedule your dental exam, please contact Dr. Mingus today.