Genetics are so fascinating. From the color of the eyes to the dimples in the cheeks, there are many traits that can be passed down from generation to generation. You may have wondered if even the health and appearance of your teeth can be hereditary. The answer is yes! Genes can influence how the teeth and bone structure form, thus influencing various factors. Here are some dental health problems that can run in a family, along with tips to keep your smile in its best shape, no matter what you inherited!
Which Oral Health Problems Can Be Hereditary?
While many dental issues can be attributed to poor oral health care, there are some that can be inherited from your family. Here are some common issues:
Studies show that up to 30% of the population may be genetically predisposed to periodontal (gum) disease. Fortunately, this condition can be prevented and treated if caught early. But if the initial symptoms of bleeding and sore gums are not addressed, it can lead to tooth and bone loss. Therefore, if your family has a gum disease history, mention it to your dentist so a personalized treatment plan can be made for you.
Genetics plays a significant role in determining the size of your jaw. As a result, dental problems like overcrowding, gaps, and overbites can run in the family. If your family has a history of misaligned pearly whites, let your dentist know; early treatment can benefit younger patients and prevent more serious dental issues in the future.
Everyone knows that consuming too much sugar can lead to cavities, but did you know genetics can be a factor as well? Certain variations of genes are linked to a higher risk of cavities in permanent teeth. Children and teens can be treated with dental sealants as a preventive measure. On the other hand, adults can benefit from prescription toothpaste, mouthwash, and routine cleanings and exams.
Perhaps you have done over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments over the years but your teeth quickly return to their previous color. While maintaining a healthy oral routine and avoiding certain teeth-staining foods and beverages can help your smile be brighter, genetics can cause your teeth to have thinner enamel, resulting in them staining more easily. Talk to your dentist about professional teeth-whitening; in most cases, your teeth can become significantly whiter in one visit!
Tips to Keep Your Smile Healthy
While oral health issues can certainly be hereditary, it is important to remember that it’s not all up to your genetics! By implementing the following best dental practices, you can help keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape throughout the years:
- Maintain your biannual dental checkups and exams. Preventive care is essential to your dental health.
- Brush for two full minutes after each meal (or at least twice a day).
- Treat flossing as essential as brushing.
- Eat a vitamin-rich diet.
- Quit unhealthy dental habits, like smoking and excessive drinking.
By taking great care of your teeth and visiting your dentist twice a year, you can maintain a beautiful, healthy smile no matter what your genes say!
About the Author
Clear Coast Dental serves the families of New Bedford and the surrounding areas through the expertise of our team of dentists. Our team combines decades of expertise to provide exceptional dental care that goes above and beyond your expectations! We help you and your family achieve and maintain healthy smiles with a range of preventive services, like dental sealants and fluoride treatments. To schedule a checkup and exam, contact us through our website or call (508) 500-1160.