Genetic makeup and family medical history are a major consideration in many types of medical diagnoses and treatments. However, genetic makeup does not have much impact on dental health, according to a new study.

A Science Daily article based on a study done at the University of Melbourne sheds new light on genetic makeup and dental health.

Facts About the Study

Lead researcher Dr. Mihiri Silva conducted the study on 173 sets of identical twins. Researchers studied them from pregnancy through age six. Because identical twins have identical genomes, they were perfect subjects for the study. Researchers could determine whether genetic or environmental factors affected tooth decay.

Dr. Silva said this was the first study to examine genetics and early life risk factors, such as illness and lifestyle.

They found that identical twins had varying degrees of tooth decay. This meant environmental factors were the major cause of cavities and not genetic makeup. An example of an environmental factor was water that lacked fluoride.

One Aspect Where Genetic Factors Did Influence Dental Health

Researchers found a connection between the mother’s lifestyle and health during pregnancy and the child’s future dental health. Obesity during pregnancy was linked to an increased risk for the children’s cavities.

Dr. Silva attributed the risk to the fact the mother’s weight may have had a biological influence on how the fetus developed. The other possibility was that increased sugar consumption in the household had led to an increased risk of tooth decay.

An Important Takeaway about Genetic Makeup and Dental Health

Because lifestyles affect whether a child experiences tooth decay, it’s important not to view tooth decay as genetic. There are vital lifestyle changes that parents can make to help prevent their children from developing cavities.

Schedule Regular Checkups So Your Dentist Can Help

At Hutto Hippo Family Dental, our dentists can help you stay on top of your children’s dental care. We can help you prevent cavities and deal with other dental issues.