Everyone acquires at least a few natural traits handed down from their parents. Health problems can also pass from generation to generation. For example, many people suffer a genetic predisposition to lung cancer if their parents suffered from lung cancer. Many of those people take the necessary precaution of avoiding cigarette smoke or other harmful inhalants.
A recent study published in Genome Research, sought to establish the impact of genetics on oral health when compared to the impact of environment on oral health. Your West Des Moines family dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, discusses the recent findings on nature vs. nurture in oral health.
Twins: Key to Study
In order to conduct this study on nature vs. nurture in oral health, scientists conducted studies on groups of twins. They analyzed the microbial DNA found in the subjects’ saliva. Researchers studied fraternal twins and identical twins to determine if increased similarities existed between the identical twins.
The study also focused on proximity between the twins to determine if location and distance played a role in the microbiomes of the twins. Finally, the study looked at previous evidence to determine at what age microbiomes change the most.
The Conclusive Evidence
During the study, the team discovered that identical twins do not possess any dramatically marked similarities in microbiomes versus fraternal twins. The study also concluded that microbiome changes were seen when twins lived apart from one another during the study. Both of these findings pointed towards conclusive evidence that environment and nurture play a larger role than genetics in oral health.
Additionally, scientists studied previous evidence to determine that the oral environment changed the most for people during adolescence and puberty. They still seek conclusive evidence to determine the exact cause of the increased changes during adolescence. Researchers speculated that puberty could be the cause of the microbial change, but behavioral issues could also contribute.
Schedule Your Visit
Are the studies on nature vs. nurture in oral health making you reconsider your oral health regimen? Interested in learning more about maintaining optimal oral health? At Valley Ridge Family Dental, we provide comprehensive dental care for the whole family. Contact our 50266 family dental office by calling (515) 223-9764 to schedule an appointment today. We welcome patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, Urbandale, and the surrounding Des Moines metro communities.