Everyone’s heard the debate about the effects of nature versus nurture, or genetics versus upbringing, in relation to child development. Researchers recently examined dental health from a similar viewpoint, evaluating the comparative importance of genetics and environment on oral health.
Which do you think is more important to your dental health, your genetics or your environment? Find out by taking this quiz.
Nature, Nurture, and Your Dental Health
Q1) True or false: Human mouths share exactly the same bacteria.
Q2) True or false: Some people are more cavity-prone than others.
Q3) True or false: The microorganisms in a person’s mouth stay the same throughout life.
Q4) True or false: The balance of oral bacteria changes distinctly during adolescence.
Q5) True or false: Genetics plays a more important role in determining oral health than environment.
Q6) True or false: I don’t have much control over my dental health.
Answers: Oral-Systemic Health, Genetics, and Environment
Q1) False: Although individuals share a basic foundation of bacteria, other microorganisms in the mouth vary from person to person. Even identical twins, who are genetically similar in every way, exhibited different microorganisms when saliva samples were tested.
Q2) True: The bacterial balance of the mouth differs among individuals. For instance, Streptococcus mutans, which is present in some people’s mouths but not others, can make a person more cavity prone.
Q3) False. The microbiome, or totality of microorganisms present in the mouth, begins developing upon birth and changes throughout life. A host of new bacteria is regularly introduced into the mouth between childhood and adulthood.
Q4) True. Samples taken by researchers over time indicate that the salivary microbiome changes the most during adolescence, suggesting behavioral changes (such as kissing, for instance) or puberty may have a significant influence.
Q5) False: Researchers found that the bacterial environment of identical twins’ mouths was no more similar that that of fraternal twins, who only share half of their genetic make-up. This implies that the impact of genetics is not as important to oral health as scientists had previously thought. Environment plays the more significant role.
Q6) False: Despite the impact of bacterial composition and genetics, you still have a great deal of control over your dental health. For good oral health, practice proper dental hygiene and visit your dentist twice a year for dental cleanings and dental checkups.
Your Lake Forest dentist can assist you with preventive and restorative dental care and give you the healthy smile you’ve always wanted. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Fondriest by calling (847)234-0517. Our practice gladly serves patients from Chicago and the area surrounding the 60045 zip code, including North Shore and Northwest Suburbs.