When you look at your teeth in the mirror, what do you see? If your eyes focus on dental problems or aesthetic flaws, your oral hygiene habits may not be the cause. Instead, your parents might be to blame. Can bad teeth run in the family? Absolutely! Although you can’t change your DNA, here’s how you can decrease your risk of common genetic dental concerns.
The positions of your teeth are vital for a healthy, functional smile. Unfortunately, bite and alignment problems can run in the family. You can inherit large teeth or a narrow jawbone, which can result in overcrowding that’s passed from generation to generation. Early orthodontics is the best solution to stop genetic alignment issues; however, it’s never too late to invest in braces. Braces can fix overcrowded, rotated, or tilted teeth to ensure a harmonious bite for better oral health and functions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 50% of adults have periodontal (gum) disease. Although the infection can occur in anyone, research has found that 30% of the population is genetically predisposed. Not only can this result in tooth loss, but gum disease is also linked to several health concerns, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and respiratory infections. Besides brushing your teeth, flossing is the best way to keep your gums healthy between your regular cleanings and checkups.
Although cavities are preventable, 91% of adults have tooth decay. Variations of certain genes have been connected to an increased risk of decay in adults. A solid oral hygiene routine and regular care from your dentist can promote a cavity-free smile. Your dentist may recommend additional preventive steps, like dental sealants or fluoride varnish. Limit how often you have sugary or acidic foods and drinks.
Cavities and gum disease aren’t the only threats to your smile. You don’t have to be a smoker or drink a lot of alcohol to be at risk of oral cancer. Although your lifestyle can play a role, people with genetic markers can have a higher likelihood of oral cancer. If you smoke or consume alcohol frequently, break the habits if oral cancer runs in the family. Don’t forget to schedule an oral cancer screening at least once per year.
Achieve Your Best Smile
Your genetic makeup doesn’t have to have the final say on the health and appearance of your smile. Are bad teeth genetic? Yes, but your dentist can create a personalized plan to lessen your risk of dental issues that run in your family, so you can love the smile you see in the mirror.
About Dr. Andrew Betaharon
Dr. Betaharon earned his dental degree at the University of Maryland, School of Dentistry. He continued his training in advanced services to provide comprehensive care under one roof. He combines his qualifications and experience with the latest technologies to help each patient achieve a healthy, confident smile. If it’s time for your next cleaning and checkup, contact our office today to request an appointment.