Do genetics play a role in the overall health of teeth?

As is the case with so many aspects of our health – from our risks of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s to the aging process – genetics plays a significant role in the health of our teeth and gums.

Research has suggested some genetic link to certain issues that can send you to your dentist for care. For example, the composition and strength of the teeth can be determined by inherited traits to a degree. Some families may be more likely to have “soft teeth” that are more susceptible to decay. Similarly, some patients may be more likely to develop gum disease due to genetic factors.

At an initial evaluation, a dentist may explore your family’s oral health history to see if there is any strong association with particular oral diseases that may put you at an increased risk for those conditions.

Of course, genetics are not the sole determinant of your oral health. Just like lifestyle factors can mitigate your genetic risks for some systemic diseases, good oral hygiene habits can offer a level of protection for your smile despite any genetic factors that may be working against you. If you are blessed with good oral health genes, don’t think you can rest on your laurels, though. It’s still important to make sure that you are brushing in the morning and evening and flossing daily.

Routine preventive care from a dentist and hygienist can also help you overcome genetic deficits that can do harm to your smile. Semi-annual exams give you the opportunity to get treatment for relatively minor issues, like small cavities or mild gum disease, before they become major concerns. At the same time, professional cleanings help to minimize the presence of oral bacteria.

In addition to affecting your oral health, your genes can also affect your smile’s appearance. For example, the development of the jaws is genetic to a degree, so small jaws that set the stage for crowding may be a familial trait.

Has it been awhile since your last checkup? Contact us at Dental Depot today to schedule your next exam.

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