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Tooth decay and periodontitis (gum disease) are complex diseases which continue to be major problems worldwide. Although researchers know that genetic factors influence risk of dental problems, it has been difficult to identify specific genes which are responsible. This study aimed to use detailed clinical records of dental diseases in a consortium called GLIDE in conjunction with questionnaire data in UK Biobank to identify genes which are linked to dental problems. The research discovered 47 new links between genes and tooth decay which may lead to a better understanding of the biology of tooth decay.
Investigating aetiology, associations and causality in diseases of the head and neck
Conditions that effect the mouth, teeth, throat and neck such as tooth decay, mouth ulcers and gum disease are very common and other diseases in this part of the body such as oral cancer typically have poor outcomes. Despite this there is limited research into these important conditions. This work aims to use UK Biobank to investigate what factors in the environment and of the persons (their genetics or body composition) are linked to these conditions. It will also try to find out which of these factors are the ones that cause someone to have that disease as this may help doctors, dentists and researchers to develop new treatments or provide better advice to their patients. The project will initially be for 3 years which will allow for different diseases to be investigated uses multiple different techniques. Depending on the findings in the first 3 years there may be a need to extend the project if further work is required. We hope the project will be able to improve the quality of information provided to the general public relating to these conditions so that they can make choices to reduce their chances of getting these conditions, be more aware of these conditions and receive better quality care if they develop these conditions.