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The Role of Genetics in Dental Health: What You Inherited from Your Parents

Similar to how you could inherit blue eyes from your mom or curly hair from your dad, you may have inherited your dental health from your parents. According to the NIDCR, tooth decay and gum disease share specific genetic signatures. This means that if one or both of your parents are prone to certain oral health conditions, you are at a higher risk of developing them.

By understanding genetics’s unique role in dental health, you can gain valuable insights that help you be more proactive in maintaining a healthy smile.

Hereditary Dental Problems

Your genes play a vital role in the appearance and function of your smile. Here are some of the most common dental problems that can be passed down from parent to child:

Jaw Shape

Jaw shape is an inherited trait. Jaw alignment issues occur when the lower jaw is too far back or forward or when the jaws are uneven or too long. This misalignment can lead to various dental issues, such as chewing and speech problems. Jaw shape can also affect how you look and your teeth’ positioning.

Misaligned Teeth

If your parents have or had misaligned teeth, you may too. Also known as malocclusion, a misaligned smile can cause your teeth to be overcrowded and your bite uneven. Depending on the severity of the condition, you may have discomfort when chewing, and bacteria is more likely to be found in small nooks and crannies in the mouth.

Tooth Decay

The presence of tooth decay is often associated with genetics. This is because your tooth structure, amount of saliva, natural oral bacteria, and immune system response all impact cavity development and are directly linked with your genes. This can cause a person to be predisposed to tooth decay.

Gum Disease

Genetics is a risk factor for developing periodontitis, or gum disease. This condition typically begins as gingivitis, its mildest form. If not promptly treated, it can develop into advanced periodontitis, resulting in tooth loss. Although your risk of gum disease may be higher due to genetics, taking precautions can significantly reduce the risk.

Caring for Your Smile Despite Genetics

While it’s not possible to change your genetics, there are things you can do to significantly lower your risk of dental problems, such as:

Practice Good Oral Health

If you know you’re predisposed to specific dental health issues, it’s crucial to take extra steps to maintain your oral health. This could include seeing your dentist more frequently, brushing after every meal, and adding a fluoride mouthwash to your daily oral care routine.

Make Healthy Diet Choices

Reevaluate your diet to determine if the foods and drinks you consume benefit your smile. Eating too many sugary or starchy foods, such as cookies and chips, can contribute to alarming bacterial buildup in the mouth. Consider switching to healthier options like fresh fruits, veggies, and plenty of plain water.

Implement Lifestyle Changes

Consider making important lifestyle changes to achieve better oral health. These may include better-managing stress, stopping the use of tobacco products, and reducing your alcohol intake. Also, remember that your dental health is a component of your overall health, meaning you should visit your personal care provider regularly.

Our Team Can Help You Manage Your Oral Health

When it comes to oral health problems, many factors are involved. Although genetics do play a role in the look and function of your smile, other factors can contribute to the state of your teeth and gums.

At Artistic Touch Dentistry, our Melbourne, FL, dentist will help you identify potential predispositions to oral health issues and recommend steps to keep your smile healthy and beautiful. Reach out to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.