A new meta-analysis study conducted by the University of Sweden showed a link between specific genes and cavity formation and gum disease. They looked at nine international studies and cross referenced the genetic material from 523,000 patients. The whole process identified 47 genes linked to cavity formation. The data also further confirmed previous studies indicating a specific immune system gene called SIGLEC5, increases a person’s chance of getting gingivitis. This gene works in the body by regulating immune systems cells. If these immune cells don’t work properly, the body cannot effectively fight certain mouth bacteria, causing gum disease (gingivitis). Researchers also noticed that bacteria can attach to the SIGLEC5 protein and down regulate the body’s immune response, which would also increase bacteria levels in the gums. Theoretically, this would increase the potential for someone to get gingivitis. Researchers hope this new information will help doctors predict, manage and treat those individuals more at risk for cavities and gum disease.