It’s common knowledge that our genes affect just about everything about our bodies. The way we look, our risk factors for certain diseases, and even our smiles are the result of our unique genetic makeup. Recently, researchers have been examining the link between poor oral health and the genes you received from your parents. Are genetics to blame for your dental health? Let’s find out!
Some People Have an Increased Risk for Cavities
Based on the genes you have, you may actually have an increased risk for tooth decay. Researchers found that people whose parents suffered from tooth decay were also more prone to cavities based on their genetic constitution. You may be more susceptible to cavities even if you eat well and take care of your teeth as opposed to someone who has different genes and doesn’t try as hard to take care of their smile.
Teeth Size and Shape May Be Influenced as Well
Kids who have braces often complain that some of their friends don’t have to have them! Turns out, teeth size and shape is the result of genetics too. This means that if your parents had crooked teeth, crowded teeth, or small, uneven teeth, you’re more likely to suffer from these problems as well. You may be more prone to need orthodontic work in the future than some people who seem to just be born with naturally straight teeth!
Gum Disease Linked to Poor Immune Response
Gum disease isn’t left out of the cards when it comes to genetics. People who suffer from gum disease—nearly half of the American population—may be more likely to get the disease based on their immunity genes. People who have poor immune responses or have a family history of autoimmune disorders may have an increased risk of gum disease. If you’re often sick, you might be more likely to get gum disease based on your immune response.
The Role You Play
Although there are certainly genetic factors that influence your smile, genetics are not totally to blame for poor dental health. You play a huge role in keeping your smile healthy just by taking care of your teeth! Brushing, flossing, and healthy eating are all huge lifestyle factors that can improve your smile.
Avoiding tobacco products, excessive alcohol consumption, and getting regular dental checkups can all help your smile. If you have a poor immune system or a family history of tooth decay, talk to your dentist about your risk. Although some people only need to visit the dentist once a year, your dentist may suggest two or three times a year to be safe.
Genetics are hugely influential to our bodies and our health. However, your care of your teeth may play an even bigger role. Don’t use your genetic makeup as an excuse to not take care of your smile. Everyone needs to brush and floss regardless of how healthy their teeth are. By exercising the best care of your smile, you can balance your risk and have beautiful teeth for life!