Dmitry Shungin et al found evidence suggesting the role of hereditary traits and factors including obesity, education and personality in tooth decay and gum disease. The study 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. The analysis involved scanning millions of strategic points in the genome to find genes with links to dental diseases. The researchers were able to identify 47 new genes with connections to tooth decay. The genes that could be linked to tooth decay were found to be those involved in teeth and the jawbone formation, protective functions in saliva and affect the bacteria found on the teeth. The researchers found that the heritability of dental caries is enriched for conserved genomic regions and partially overlapping with a range of complex traits including smoking, education, personality traits and metabolic measures. Using a technique called Mendelian randomisation, the researchers estimated a causal link between dental caries and some cardiovascular-metabolic risk factors. However, despite the gene factor researchers stress on practicing good oral hygiene and diet to help reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Source: Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 2773 24 June, 2019 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10630-1