Family dentists have become a popular option for people seeking dental and oral care for their entire family. They allow families to have one centralized location to visit for their oral and dental health problems, while also providing a friendly and personable environment. Being aware of how family dentists help treat oral health problems can be…
A Family Dentist Explains Whether Oral Health is Hereditary
A family dentist understands that not everyone is born with perfect teeth. Often, oral health issues are due to environmental factors like poor oral hygiene. But sometimes, genes are to blame.
If you brush your teeth diligently but still find yourself with rampant tooth decay, hereditary factors may be responsible. It may not be your fault that cavities keep forming despite the fact that you never skip a professional dental cleaning. Read on to learn the connection between oral health and genetics.
Gene variations and oral health
Certain genetic variations may be linked to an elevated occurrence of tooth decay and gum disease. One specific gene named beta-defensin 1 (DEFB1) plays an important role in the immune response against invading germs. Therefore, variations in the DEFB1 gene can influence the rate of dental caries and cause a decline in oral health.
Those with this gene variation are more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease, as their immune response is dampened. The patient is not able to fight off infection as easily nor maintain a balanced environment in the mouth.
Other hereditary factors that influence oral health
Of course, there are other factors which determine the health of our teeth and gums, such as shape. For example, the depth of the grooves in the molars is an inherited trait. If parents have deeply grooved molars, there is a good chance their offspring will share this same characteristic.
When molars are deeply grooved, food particles can more easily get stuck in them. This makes it more difficult to clean the teeth as well, and an extra effort must be made to clear the teeth of bacteria.
If you are having issues with food getting stuck in teeth, tell your family dentist right away. Catching this problem early on will ensure that cavities are not able to form as easily. There are treatments to alter the shape of teeth and remedy deeply grooved molars.
Gum disease and genetics
Periodontitis, the aggressive destruction of gum tissue due to infection, is more often found in those of African descent. In this case, the prevalence of an oral health issue is not only due to hereditary factors. On a much wider scale, it affects a specific group of people directly.
This means that both direct hereditary factors and ethnic background may play an integral role in the oral health of an individual. A large portion of the population may be genetically predisposed to gum disease.
Oral health issues influenced by genes
A family history of oral cancer puts you at higher risk for the disease. Misaligned teeth are also an inherited trait. Genetics decide the size of the jaw and can in turn cause crowding and overbite.
Another condition that is hereditary is the common birth defect known as a cleft palate. This occurs when the sides of the lip and roof of the mouth do not properly fuse together. Newborns of Asian, Latino and Native American descent may be more likely to have a cleft palate. Parents born with a cleft palate are very likely to pass this trait onto offspring, as well.
The bottom line
Reach out to your family dentist today to come up with an action plan to prevent tooth decay, no matter your genetic background.
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