To understand the role epigenetics plays in what causes tooth decay we need to get a grasp on what this groundbreaking new discipline dispels about former beliefs regarding genetic inheritances. We used to think, with a kind of fatalistic attitude, that we are pretty well stuck with the genes that we inherit.
While this is, in a sense true, it is by no means a complete picture. What is much more important is how these genes are expressed. This is the essence of what epigenetics looks at, how the reaction of the same genome is affected by the environment. It basically is a controlled study of the old, controversial, nature versus nurture question.
The term “genome” just refers to a full set of chromosomes, which encompasses all the inheritable traits we are born with. And, of course, one of the prime avenues of research is to study identical twins versus fraternal twins, as identical twins have the same genome.
These studies are not only an excellent way to answer the nature versus nurture question, they have revealed some surprising results in our fundamental understanding of genetics. We now know, for example, that if we have a poor diet we actually change the way our genes are expressed.
Environmental factors, such as nutrition, play a major role in our genetic expression. They do this by turning certain genes on and turning others off. That is what I mean by the way our genes are expressed. Although, we only have what we are born with we have quite a number of genes and the critical factor is which ones are “firing.”
I have written on the role of nutrition in another article on how to cure tooth decay. The gravity associated with improper nutrition is revealed by epigenetics. If we eat an improper diet we not only change the manner in which our genes are expressed we pass the same tendencies on to our children.
I began to do some independent research on what causes tooth decay when I saw one of my daughters frantically struggling with some serious dental health issues with my two beautiful, but still very young granddaughters.
When I was younger it was absolutely unheard of to be drilling and filling children just a few years old. I was raised on a “convenience diet,” which included a lot of processed foods. Sad to say my daughters’ fair was better, but not a whole lot.
Looking back, I wish I had known back then what I do now about nutrition and epigenetics. It was a startling revelation to see how my former diet gave the next two generations of offspring a genetic predisposition to poor oral health.
Actually, this current interest in epigenetics is really a revival of passed over experimental research done many decades ago by a pioneer of nutrition, Francis Pottenger MD. He became somewhat famous for his genetic work with cats.
He demonstrated how a poor diet affected cats and how it was inherited by their offspring and passed on to subsequent generations. The uplifting aspect of his work was his ability to restore all of the genetic damage in 4 generations with good nutrition alone!
One of the more promising results of the study of epigenetics is that we can actually turn on healthy genes and not only by good nutrition. We can also positively affect how are genes are expressed through exercise and avoiding or removing toxins. I have explained how to accomplish this in another article.
One of the most crucial lifestyle tools in our arsenal to cure tooth decay is lowering stress. The negative impact of stress on our genetic expression has been well researched and documented. This is not only crucial to cure tooth decay it affects the health of our whole being.
To quote the famous researcher Melvin Page, “Every chronic degenerative condition of the human body expresses itself in the mouth.” Hence, poor oral health is only an indicator of a systemic problem and is often linked to stress.
When we discover natural ways to cure tooth decay we are actually finding pathways to good, vibrant health for our whole being.
IDENTICAL TWINS: PINPOINTING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON THE EPIGENOME
The University of Utah
Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition
Sonia J. Lupien, Bruce S. McEwen, Megan R. Gunnar § and Christine Heim
FLUCTUATING ASYMMETRY: AN EPIGENETIC MEASURE OF STRESS
P. A. PARSONS