Recent studies have demonstrated a strong correlation between those who experience poor oral health and having a familial history of poor oral health. Genetics have been shown to be tied to a wide range of oral health concerns. Genetics can impact how our teeth develop and how our jawbones form. They can also impact the shape and placement of these teeth and their ability to fight off bacteria. While our family history may impact our oral health, there is still hope for those with a troubled genetic past.
How Genetics Influence Oral Health, and What We Can Do
Nearly every part of our oral health can be said to have a genetic component. Our bone structure is determined by genetic history, as is the size and shape of our oral cavity. Misalignments can directly result from our familial past, as can an issue with our joints. However, one area of our oral health that is firmly in our control is our oral hygiene practices. Our genetics can affect certain aspects of our oral hygiene practice. However, we can always find ways to protect our teeth with daily care.
These elements of oral health can be influenced by genetic history:
- Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) – Almost a third of the American population may have a genetic predisposition to developing gum disease. When this condition is present, you may experience inflamed and sensitive gums, as well as bleeding when brushing or flossing. Diagnosing this concern early can significantly prevent it from developing further. If you have discovered a family history of periodontal disease, alert your dentist.
- Tooth Decay – Cavities are most often the result of poor oral hygiene practices. However, this condition’s elements can be linked to genetic precedence. Teeth that are misaligned are significantly more difficult to clean thoroughly. The gaps and crevices created by the misalignment provide food debris and bacteria hiding spaces. Regular dental visits can help address these concerns, as can orthodontic treatment and altered techniques for brushing. Speak to your dentist to learn more.
- Weak Teeth – Weak teeth can result from impaired enamel from a lack of proper nutrient incorporation. This can result from a diet deficiency or a genetic element resulting in weak teeth. Thankfully fluoride has been shown to be very effective in strengthening teeth and aiding enamel remineralization.
These three conditions represent the most commonly encountered oral health concerns with a genetic element. However, there are others. Our risk of developing oral cancer has been shown to be genetic in origin. Misalignments and discoloration in teeth can also be the result of our family heritage.
What You Can Do When Genetics Are The Cause
The good news is that you don’t have to throw up your hands and give in when concerns like this are present. Dental technology has provided a number of effective treatment methods for many of these concerns. From orthodontic care to cosmetic dentistry options, there’s sure to be an answer for oral health concerns caused by genetic elements. Speak to our dentist to learn more.