Do you always seem to have problems with your mouth, no matter how much you brush and floss? You might have inherited bad teeth. If your parents or grandparents had dental issues, you’ll likely experience them as well. In fact, many aspects of your oral health are affected to a certain degree by your genes. Read along to learn which conditions can be inherited and what steps you can take to have a healthy smile.
Can Oral Health Problems Be Inherited?
Does your family have a history of certain oral health conditions? That puts you at a higher risk for developing these problems, despite good dental hygiene habits. Here are a few issues that can be inherited:
If gum disease runs in your family, you’re certainly not alone. Studies show that up to 30% of the population might be genetically predisposed to this condition. It often presents itself as red, inflamed, tender, and swollen gums. If left untreated, it can lead to decay or tooth and bone loss. Be sure to tell your dentist that family members have struggled with this disease, as early diagnosis and treatment can prevent it from worsening.
Certain variations of genes are significantly associated with an increased risk of cavities in adult teeth. Ask your dentist about sealants and fluoride treatments for your little ones as they can help prevent decay. Conversely, adults with a high risk of decay may benefit from prescription toothpaste or mouthwash. Patients with this genetic factor must attend routine cleanings and exams. If decay isn’t caught early, it can aggravate gum disease and even lead to tooth loss.
Most people know that tobacco and alcohol are top risk factors for oral cancer. However, genetics is a significant factor as well. It’s been discovered that people with this genetic marker have a higher chance of developing this condition. Be sure to mention your predisposition to your dentist to aid in early detection.
Did you know that genetics play a significant role in determining the size of your jaw? That means problems like crowding, gaps, overbites, and underbites can run in the family. If you’re genetically predisposed to crooked teeth, let your dentist know as early treatment can benefit younger patients and prevent complications down the line.
Tips to Maintain a Healthy Mouth
Luckily, there are many steps you can take to have a healthy mouth – no matter what your genes say! Here are a few tips:
- Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet
- Stay on top of your oral hygiene (brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily)
- Avoid tobacco and excess alcohol consumption
- Regularly visit your dentist for cleanings and exams
Bad teeth can be genetic, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to face severe dental issues in your life. With proper dental care and a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy a problem-free smile for as long as possible!
About the Author
Dr. Joe Isaacson has helped over 9000 patients (and counting!) achieve and maintain their best smiles. He earned his dental degree at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry in 1993 and opened his practice later that year. If you have any questions about the oral health problems that run in your family, Dr. Isaacson is more than happy to answer them. Visit our website or call (405) 943-8575 to schedule an appointment.