|Posted on October 19, 2017 at 8:50 AM|
The link between genetics and degenerative diseases has become a focal point in the medical field.
DNA testing for Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, diabetes, etc. is fairly common nowadays; and the addition of new types of genetic testing is mounting.
Cross over to dentistry, and let’s see what’s available. Presently, in New York State, the dentist is now allowed to test for genetic markers in saliva for periodontal disease and oral cancer (from HPV). Both are relatively simple and painless tests. No needles, no drills, no blood. Just rinse with a saline (salt) solution and spit into a test tube. One week later, your results are in.
So why is this important? Well if you have the genetic markers for gum disease, you really don’t want to postpone periodontal care. Losing teeth is never a good thing (can’t smile and can’t eat) and it will be expensive to replace missing teeth with implants or dentures. Best to diagnose it before it is symptomatic to prevent it from manifesting.
As for the genetic oral cancer test, it is good to know which HPV gene you have if any (there are 51 HPV types tested in the saliva analysis), so that you can be proactive in eradicating it BEFORE oral cancer strikes.
According to a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, nationwide rates for oral HPV infections are 11.5% of men and 3.2% of women. That’s 11 million men, compared with 3.2 million women. That means that about one in nine American men is infected with the oral form of human papillomavirus (HPV).
Genetic testing for the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease, as well as the assessment for oral cancer susceptibility, allows for a personalized approach to holistic preventive health care.
Bear in mind that that nearly all oral diseases cause absolutely no pain until they are quite advanced. This includes tooth decay, periodontal disease, and oral cancer. Oral cancer occurs more frequently than most other common cancers. Due to late diagnosis, about half of the nearly 50,000 patients diagnosed every year with oral cancer in the U.S. will die of their disease. The only positive way to impact this devastating outcome is with yearly physical examination of the oral cavity, head, and neck. Saliva genetic analysis may just save your life.
Be sure to ask for you saliva genetic testing at your next visit.