mother takes a selfie with her two sons realizing their oral health is affected by genetics

Are My Oral Health Issues Genetic?

While you may think of your oral health being dependent solely on your dental hygiene habits, turns out that your genetics may also have some say. Most dental diseases are not caused by one gene defect but are the result of your genes interacting with your oral environment. And though genetics aren’t the only things responsible for these conditions, here are some oral health issues that are thought to be hereditary.

Cavities and Tooth Decay

If you seem to be getting cavities every time you see the dentist even though you practice good oral health, the answer may be that you are genetically predisposed to tooth decay, more commonly known as cavities. Research shows that variations on a gene known as beta-defensin 1 (DEFB1) could cause you to be at a greater risk of developing cavities in adult teeth. But just because you are genetically predisposed to developing tooth decay does not mean that there’s nothing you can do about it. Talk to us about how you can combat cavities with prescription mouthwashes and toothpastes, and be sure to maintain good oral health care practices at home in between dental checkups and cleanings.

Periodontal Disease

It’s estimated that about 30 percent of people inherit the predisposition for periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Periodontal disease is an infection in the gums that causes them to become inflamed and sensitive as a result of untreated tooth decay. Though your genetics can influence whether or not you’ll get periodontal disease, your genes are not nearly as strong connected to periodontal disease as are your oral health care practices.

Oral Cancer

You’ve probably heard that some kinds of cancer can be genetic, and oral cancer is no exception. Thousands of Americans die from oral cancer every year and some genetic markers may be responsible for individuals being at a higher risk of getting oral cancer. However, by quitting smoking, reducing your alcohol intake, and eating a healthy diet, you can lower your risk of developing oral cancer dramatically.

Crooked and Misaligned Teeth

If you needed braces or retainers, chances are good that your parents and siblings did too. The size and shape of your jaw is hereditary and this can affect the alignment of your teeth and determine whether or not you’ll have gaps, overbites, and more. Thankfully, orthodontia can solve this oral health issue easily!

The best defense against oral health issues is practicing good dental health routines at home, such as brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using fluoride products. It’s also important to come in and see us for a checkup and cleaning every six months. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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