We all want to have healthy smiles. However, sometimes tooth decay or gum disease become obstacles in taking the best care of our teeth. For some people, it seems like no amount of brushing and flossing will prevent these issues, and they’re discouraged to find that they have yet another cavity during their dental checkup or advancing gum disease.
But is poor dental health caused by genetics? While research is ongoing, there is some evidence to suggest that genes do play a role in your oral health.
Your Dental Health Is the Result of Both Genes and Environment
Your dental health isn’t the result of a single factor. Our bodies are complex organisms, and our health is the result of a variety of influential factors, including genes and our care of ourselves.
While genetics can certainly play a role in your oral health, more commonly, oral health issues aren’t attributable to a single gene but rather are the result of a combination of your genetics and your environment .
What this means is that your oral care habits, including brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings, influence your oral health just as much as genetics. Your diet will influence your oral health too, with diets high in refined sugar increasing your risk for tooth decay.
Certain Genes Have Been Linked to an Increased Risk for Tooth Decay
That being said, certain genes have been linked to an increased risk of tooth decay . While this suggests that some people may be slightly more at risk for tooth decay than others, it’s important to remember that no one is “predisposed” to tooth decay based on their genetics . There are other environmental factors that influence tooth decay just as much, if not more, than your genes, so taking the best care of your smile is important!
People With a Family History of Gum Disease May Be More at Risk
People who have a family history of gum disease, or have an immediate family member with the condition, may be at a higher risk to develop gum disease . However, this is just one factor in the many that can influence one’s risk for gum disease, including age, tobacco use, and even certain medications. If you have a family history of periodontal disease, maintaining a healthy smile is even more important to prevent the condition!
Remember That Your Oral Health Habits Are Important!
The bottom line is that while genetics can be influential in oral health, you have more control than you think over whether or not you develop certain oral health conditions.
Taking the best care of your smile through regular dental cleanings, brushing and flossing at home, and eating a healthy diet is important for your teeth and gums, and can be more influential than genetics when it comes to whether or not you develop tooth decay or gum disease!