Do You Have the Gene for Periodontal Disease

Can Periodontitis Be Stopped If It Is Genetic?

A recent technology that is becoming more used today in the field of dentistry is genetic testing. Most people know that your genes play a powerful role in your life and in your health. There is no doubt that your genes do affect your health, and your oral health, but does it mean that if you have the genes for gum disease that it is inevitable that you will get it?

The Tools

DNA testing analyzes your genes to determine if you have the specific gene that is believed to make you more susceptible to getting gum disease. These tests are becoming simpler, more accurate, and they are available now to dentists and other medical professionals. The genes for the sample test will be taken either from your blood or from your saliva.

About Periodontitis

The major cause of tooth loss today is periodontal disease (periodontitis), with as many as half of the adults over 50 in America having it. It was discovered almost a century ago that the disease tends to run in families, which made scientists believe that there may be a hereditary connection.

Periodontitis is most often caused by a lack of proper oral care. Teeth are not brushed regularly and flossing is often omitted. This creates a breeding ground for the harmful bacteria in the mouth to not only create cavities but also to cause inflammation of the gums. This starts a chain reaction that leads to periodontitis if not stopped early by good dental care. From there the infection spreads, pockets of infection form on the gums, the gums recede, and teeth can become loose. If allowed to continue without professional dental treatment, the teeth will eventually fall out.

One study revealed that about 30 percent of people have the periodontitis gene. Several genetic factors increase the risk of getting the disease by as much as making individuals 20 times more likely to not just get periodontitis but to get advanced periodontitis. This type of periodontitis progresses rapidly, and it may also start early.

Treatment for Periodontitis

There are four stages of periodontitis. In the early stages, it can rather easily be removed. Before it becomes periodontitis, however, it is called gingivitis, and it can rather easily be eliminated at this stage simply by brushing twice a day and flossing daily.

As the gum disease becomes progressively worse, the treatments become more drastic and multiple treatments may be necessary. Treatment options involve both non-surgical and surgical methods, but a combination of treatments may also be necessary.

The Benefit of Genetic Testing

Genetic tests can certainly indicate whether or not you have the specific gene that is behind gum disease – called Interleukin-1 (IL-1). Finding out whether you have the gene or not can notify you and your dentist as to the possible greater likelihood of getting severe gum disease.

Once genetic testing has revealed that you have the gene, you and the dentist can create a specific plan to seek to prevent and treat gum disease. It will also enable the dentist to be on a more careful lookout for the start of gum disease, enabling it to be caught sooner and eradicated before serious damage can be inflicted.

The person with the gene who develops periodontitis benefits by having the dentist aware of the genetic factor because the dentist can use more aggressive tactics to eliminate it. This will be necessary because the disease will be likely to spread faster than normal.

Having the Gene Does Not Guarantee Periodontitis

Just because someone has the gene it needs to be understood that it does not mean that you are guaranteed to get periodontitis. Generally, it takes additional factors to start the process, which includes environmental and lifestyle choices. These factors also have a large part in the overall health of your gums and teeth – not the genes alone.

Factors That Increase the Likelihood of Serious Gum Disease

There are five factors that will increase your likelihood of developing periodontitis. These include:
  • Smoking

  • Stress

  • Poor oral hygiene

  • Weak immune system

  • Genes.

In addition to these factors, there are more. They include being overweight, race, gender, and diabetes. They will also have a role in whether you have an increased risk of getting the disease.

If you want to keep gum disease away, you can eliminate three of these problems – the smoking, stress, and poor oral hygiene. By doing so, you reduce your risk of periodontal disease and may even be able to completely prevent it.

Taking Care of Your Teeth

How well you take care of your teeth is entirely up to you. The best way to care for your teeth involves:
  • Brushing twice daily for two minutes each time

  • Using toothpaste with fluoride

  • Flossing every day – preferably before going to bed

  • Using an anti-bacterial mouthwash

  • Reducing sugar intake

  • Avoiding sweet drinks – specialty coffees, sodas, and fruit juice.

If you suspect that you might have the genes for periodontal disease, you can get genetic testing at the offices of Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist. He has offices in the Carrollton, TX and Grapevine, TX areas. For a genetic screening or a consultation for better dental health, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.