Have you ever wondered if genetic predispositions affect the health of your teeth and gums? In some cases, genetics can heighten a patient’s risk for developing dental conditions such as periodontal disease and decay. The size and positioning of teeth is inherited, too. Our dentist explains how genetics affect oral health and how patients can take a proactive stance to protect gums and teeth.
While genetic factors do not directly cause decay or gum disease, certain predispositions can increase one’s risk. For example, many people equate gum disease with poor oral hygiene practices. Even though improper or inadequate oral hygiene causes gum disease for many patients, it is not the only contributing factor for developing inflamed and infected gums. In fact, some genetic factors do play a role in periodontal disease. Other factors such as hormonal fluctuations during puberty or pregnancy heighten gum sensitivity to irritants and bacteria. The genetic positioning of teeth may increase a risk for decay, especially if teeth tend to crown or overlap in one’s family. This is because crowded and overlapped teeth are difficult to clean and bacteria tend to accumulate in hard-to-reach places.
Genetics also play a role with orthodontic issues. In many cases, similar orthodontic patterns emerge in within a family. Malocclusions such as overbites and underbites might be inherited, too. Fortunately, the positioning and misalignment of teeth is treatable with braces, palate expanders, and oral surgery.
Overcoming genetics in dentistry is not impossible. In fact, there is a lot a patient can do to combat inheritable predispositions. The best method for taking a proactive stance on dental health is to commit to proper brushing and flossing. When done correctly, brushing and flossing removes most plaque deposits and helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay. In addition to meticulous oral hygiene, patients should visit the dentist for examinations and cleanings on a regular basis. With professional care, most conditions are detected early on and manageable with treatment.
To schedule an appointment with any of our dentists, call 718-389-1120 today.