Do genetics play a role in the overall health of teeth?
You are probably familiar with the ways in which your genes influence your health. Genetics may play a role in conditions as varied as cancer, depression and stroke.
Not surprisingly, genetics can contribute to your dental health in a number of ways, as well.
Dental problems like decay and periodontal disease have genetic links, and the durability of the teeth can also be an inherited trait. All of these factors may increase your risk of developing conditions that require some level of intervention by a dentist. “Soft” teeth, for instance, may be more prone to breakage and need more cosmetic restorations.
Other issues like jaw structures and crowding and other misalignments also are shaped by genetic factors. These aspects of your oral health may create a need for orthodontic treatment or oral surgery, or possibly both.
Even the components of your saliva are touched by genetics, and this too can affect your oral health. For example, some people have saliva containing a compound that is highly effective at neutralizing acids in the mouth, which reduces the risk of tooth decay.
To reduce the chances of developing significant oral health problems, those with genetic predispositions to certain oral diseases should be extra vigilant about getting to the dentist in a timely fashion. Schedule appointments every six months to allow the dentist an opportunity to keep tabs on any signs or symptoms that are cause for concern.
Of course, genetics are not the lone determinant of your oral health. You still have a certain degree of control over the matter. You can make an effort to engage in a thorough and effective oral hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing. Pay attention to your diet’s influence on your oral health and limit foods that can cause problems, like sticky candies.
At your next check-up, ask if there is any cause for concern in your family history of oral diseases. Having this valuable knowledge can help you know what steps you need to take to protect your oral health.