How Do Genetics Affect Oral Health?

Although it’s up to each one of us to maintain healthy teeth for life, there is a component of our oral health that is beyond our control. Genetics play a role in our oral health for life. This means that if your parents were prone to dental problems like cavities and gum disease, the same may be true for you. Here are some ways your DNA may be affecting your teeth.

granddaughter leaning over smiling at her grandmother

Good Teeth & Your Genes

Your genetic makeup is somewhat responsible for certain dental problems you may have. Malocclusions and misalignment of the teeth are one such example. If your parents or grandparents were prone to crooked teeth, you may have them as well. This is typically thought of as a cosmetic issue, but misalignment in teeth can increase your risk of dental problems like cavities, gum disease, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), and chipped teeth. Other dental problems that are inherited are susceptibility to cavities. A gene variation called beta-defensin 1 (DEFB1) has been identified as a contributing factor to cavity-prone teeth. If your parents had it, you may have it as well.

How to Fight Back

Regardless of your parents’ dental health, your fate doesn’t have to be the same. With proper dental hygiene, you may be able to avoid some of the pitfalls of your oral inheritance. Always brush twice a day for two minutes each time. Floss every day. If you’re cavity prone, be diligent about eating a diet low in sugar and high in nutrients found in vegetables and whole grains. If you needed braces as a child, chances are, so will your children. Orthodontics like braces and clear alignment trays are available to adults and children and can prevent oral health problems down the road. Talk to us if you’re interested in a straighter smile. We can help!

Being prone to dental problems because of your genes does not define your destiny. You can change the course of your life and health by being passionate about your own wellness. Stay positive and practice good habits. Let us know how we can help! Contact us today if it’s time to schedule an appointment.

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