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Is Oral Health Genetic?

March 19, 2019

While the state of your oral health heavily depends on your daily dental routine, there is some evidence that your genetics could also play a role in the health of your mouth and teeth. Here we’ll explain which oral health issues could be influenced by your genes.

Teeth That Need Corrections

Did you need braces, retainers, or another corrective oral device? If so, it’s very likely that your siblings and parents did too. It’s often easy to look at a person’s natural, uncorrected teeth and know that their close relatives have similar ones. While your actual teeth may not be hereditary, the shape and size of your jaw is and can influence how your teeth are aligned. If your parents had a gap or an overbite, chances are that you do too.

Gum Disease

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is one of the more common oral health issues. About 30 percent of those who suffer from gum disease are predisposed to the condition based on their genes. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums and a number of people whose immune systems are affected in their ability to respond to and fight inflammation. If you have this genetic proclivity, it’s important that you are very thorough with your daily oral health routine so as to keep gum disease at bay.

Tooth Decay

Does the dentist always seem to find a cavity in your mouth even though you are careful about brushing and flossing every day? Your genetics may be to blame. There is a variation on a gene called beta-defensin 1 (DEFB1) that research shows puts you at a higher risk of being susceptible to tooth decay. If you think you may have a genetic predisposition to tooth decay, be sure to talk to us about it so we can devise a plan on how to combat cavities.

Oral Cancer

There is evidence that there are genetic mutations that are linked to oral cancer. One is called dyskeratosis congenita and is associated with a high risk of oral cancer, as well as aplastic anemia. Another gene mutation called fanconi anemia is a blood condition that occurs when there are abnormalities in several different genes and those with the mutation have up to 500 times a higher risk of developing oral cancer. If you have these gene mutations, it’s vital that you don’t smoke, eat a healthy diet, and lower your alcohol consumption in order to decrease your risk of developing oral cancer.

If your genes cause you to be more inclined to developing any of these oral health issues, contact us today to make an appointment so we can discuss the best course of action for prevention.

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