As scientists advance their research in biology and genetics, more and more health conditions and diseases seem to be linked to our DNA. While this field of study is relatively new, there has been some evidence that points to the notion that dental health is influenced by some hereditary factors. Since genetics affect oral health to certain degrees, our dentist recommends that patients receive regular preventive dentistry care and commit to healthy habits like proper oral hygiene and a balanced diet.
How can hereditary factors affect teeth and gums?
There are a few ways that your unique genetic makeup can negatively impact your oral health. Sometimes, patients are born without tooth enamel. This, for example, leaves teeth extremely vulnerable to decay and breakage. Enamel is a durable, mineralized barrier around teeth that protects against wear and tear and the bacteria that contribute to cavities. Genetics can also affect orthodontic health – especially when it comes to the number of wisdom teeth a patient will have. Some folks are surprised to learn that not everyone has wisdom teeth and the people that do may only have one of four. The presence of wisdom teeth is linked to hereditary factors. Wisdom tooth eruption and retention can cause teeth to become crowded and even abscessed.
Is tooth decay hereditary?
While there are many ways that genetics affect oral health, tooth decay (caries) is not one of them. In fact, cavities are actually classified as an infectious disease. This is because the bacteria responsible for cavities is orally transmitted. However, if a person is born without tooth enamel, he or she will certainly have an increased risk for tooth decay.
What can I do to protect my oral health?
Even though hereditary factors affect teeth, there are ways that you can take charge of your health. We recommend that you visit us for regular checkups and cleanings along with committing to a meticulous oral hygiene routine that includes daily flossing and twice daily brushing.
We offer general and restorative services. Call us today to reserve an appointment with our experienced dentist.