Family history and oral health: findings from the Dunedin Study

Did we really need a study to validate what most dentists know? MJ

Shearer, D. M., Thomson, W. M., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., Broadbent, J. M. and Poulton, R. (2011), Family history and oral health: findings from the Dunedin Study. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2011.00641.

Abstract –  Context:  The effects of the oral health status of one generation on that of the next within families are unclear.
Objectives:  To determine whether parental oral health history is a risk factor for oral disease.
Methods:  Oral examination and interview data were collected during the age-32 assessments in the Dunedin Study. Parental data were also collected on this occasion. The sample was divided into two familial-risk groups for caries/tooth loss (high risk and low risk) based on parents’ self-reported history of tooth loss at the age-32 assessment interview.
Main outcome measures:  Probands’ dental caries and tooth loss status at age 32, together with lifelong dental caries trajectory (age 5–32).
Results:  Caries/tooth loss risk analysis was conducted for 640 proband-parent groups. Reference groups were the low-familial-risk groups. After controlling for confounding factors (sex, episodic use of dental services, socio-economic status and plaque trajectory), the prevalence ratio (PR) for having lost 1+ teeth by age 32 for the high-familial-risk group was 1.41 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05, 1.88] and the rate ratio for DMFS at age 32 was 1.41 (95% CI 1.24, 1.60). In the high-familial-risk group, the PR of following a high caries trajectory was 2.05 (95% CI 1.37, 3.06). Associations were strongest when information was available about both parents’ oral health. Nonetheless, when information was available for one parent only, associations were significant for some outcomes.
Conclusions:  People with poor oral health tend to have parents with poor oral health. Family/parental history of oral health is a valid representation of the intricacies of the shared genetic and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s oral health status. Associations are strongest when data from both parents can be obtained.


Blue Turtle said…
I am a living witness to these. My maternal side has history of oral problems such as tooth decay. Me, my brother and two sisters has bad oral problems even if my parents tried so hard to protect us from tooth decays. And my children starts to manifest bad teeth even regular dental check up. Is tooth decay hereditary?

J. Harp
writer @ Spring Dentist

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