Hughes co-authored an article in the Australian Dental Journal that show a patient?s DNA may play a large part in helping dentists treat their patients.
?Our genetic code, or DNA, is like an orchestra?it contains all of the elements we need to function?but the epigenetic code is essentially the conductor, telling which instruments to play or stay silent, or how to respond at any given moment,? Hughes said in a statement.
Hughes went on to explain, ?[The epigenetic code] respond[s] to the current local environment, such as the type and level of our oral microbes, regulating which of our genes are active. This means we could use them to determine an individual?s state of health, or even influence how their genes behave. We can?t change the underlying genetic code, but we may be able to change when genes are switched on and off.?
Hughes and his team believe that further research in this area could give dentists a way to personalize treatment and dental products for patients. It could accomplish this by showing the areas in which they need to concentrate to help reduce patients? incidence of periodontitis and oral cancers as well as other issues leading to tooth loss.