How Genetics Influence Oral Health

Your oral health largely relies on your individual actions. You must maintain your smile with proper oral hygiene and at-home habits as well as routine care from your dentist. However, factors outside of your control can also influence the well-being of your smile.

Genetics can play a role in your likelihood of forming certain dental concerns. If a member of your family suffers from certain issues in their smile, you might also face this same danger. But which dental complications can stem from this family history? Read on to learn about three oral health problems that could develop due to your genetics.

How Genetics Influence Oral Health

Bite Problems

Poor oral habits, especially in the developing smiles of a child, can impact dental alignment. Sucking a thumb or biting the lips could apply pressure to the teeth to make them grow crooked, gapped, or overlapped. The behaviors may also affect the shape of the jaw, causing bite problems like an overbite.

Genetics will also influence the position of the teeth and the shape of the jaw. Crowded teeth, bite problems, and a narrow palate might be hereditary rather than a result of oral habits. These dental alignment concerns could affect a patient’s self-esteem but may also increase their risk of oral health issues, including TMJ disorders.

A dentist can help resolve minor bite problems with Invisalign or other cosmetic dental solutions. More severe malocclusions may require orthodontics to straighten the patient’s smile.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease refers to a common infection in the gum tissue. This infection affects about half of American adults, but though prevalent, it can prove catastrophic to dental health without prompt treatment from a dentist.

Gum disease develops when natural oral bacteria reach and infect the gum tissue. You can prevent oral bacterial spread with good oral hygiene. This regimen removes plaque, a film that allows bacteria to travel with ease across the teeth.

But some dental patients may have more aggressive oral bacteria due to their genetics. This may mean that oral hygiene alone cannot prevent gum disease. You will need to seek preventive care from your dentist, including periodontal disease screenings, to keep your gums healthy.

Tooth Decay

Most of us will form at least one cavity in our lifetimes. A cavity is an early form of tooth decay. It develops when oral bacteria penetrate a weak spot in the tooth and eat away at the dental structure to create a hole in the tooth’s surface.

Oral hygiene keeps the teeth strong enough to resist tooth decay. But if the patient inherits aggressive oral bacteria, they may require more targeted preventive dental care to fight decay and protect the dental structure.

Visit your dentist for regular check-ups to ensure your smile continues to stay healthy and that genetic factors do not endanger your oral health. Practice good oral habits at home to further reduce your risk of tooth decay and other dental dangers.


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