Posted by Pankhuri Kapoor on February 27, 2010

Dr Marjo-Riita Jarvelin and her contemporaries from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, the University of Bristol in the UK and the University of Oulu in Finland carried out the present research that can help in timely treatment and prevention of innate dental problems.

One of the genes identified in the research is reportedly linked with a 1.35 greater risk of getting an expensive orthodontic treatment done during 30 years of age.

Dr. Jarvelin informed, “Our findings should provide a strong foundation for the study of the genetic architecture of tooth development, which as well as its relevance to medicine and dentistry, may have implications in evolutionary biology since teeth represent important markers of evolution."

“We hope also that these discoveries will increase knowledge about why fetal growth seems to be such an important factor in the development of many chronic diseases,” she further said.

Genetic code of 6000 people studied
The research team examined the genetic code of 6,000 people from Finland and Britain who participated in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort (NFBC1966) and the Avon Longitudinal Study on Parents and Children (ALSPAC), UK.

These studies followed the participants from the time of their mother's pregnancy until their adulthood.

In all, the researchers found five genes that were related with the time of the surfacing of the foremost tooth and the number of teeth by age one in babies.

Link between timing of first tooth and dental problems
The study results also established an association between the time the first tooth takes to appear and the dental problems that will be caused to the infant in later life due to it.

Simply put, babies with lesser milk teeth by age one are at a greater risk of undergoing dental treatments later on in life than those who develop more teeth by the same age, and this depends entirely on their genes.

Identified genes also related with development of other organs
The researchers found that some of the genes associated with development of teeth in toddlers were also linked with development of the skull, jaws, ears, fingers, toes, and heart by previous studies.

This led the study authors to conclude that teeth and many other organs have familiar development passageway during infancy.

“The discoveries of genetic and environmental determinants of human development will help us to understand the development of many disorders which appear later in life,” said Dr Jarvelin.

The study and its findings have been published in the Feb. 26 issue of Public Library of Science or PLoS.

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