You may have inherited your mother’s eyes or your father’s bone structure. It only makes sense that you would inherit their dental issues too. Like your other features, many aspects of your oral health are affected to some degree by your genes. For example, crooked teeth are often passed down from one generation to the next. You may also have picked up your parent’s poor oral hygiene habits when you were young. However, genetics are not completely to blame for the overall health of your teeth and gums.
The Connection Between Teeth and Genes
There is a real connection between your genetic makeup and your oral health. Some of the most common dental issues related to DNA include crooked teeth, overcrowding, size and shape of your mouth, and oral cancer risk. However, know that just because someone in your family has experienced an oral health condition, it does not necessarily mean that you will too. Many things can be passed down through DNA but some dental problems are not transferred from the genes of patients, such as decay and discoloration.
If your parents have any of the following dental issues, there is a higher risk that you could develop them too:
- Tooth Decay – Certain variations of genes have been linked with a greater risk of tooth decay in permanent teeth. Individuals who are at a higher risk of tooth decay should speak with their dentist in Clermont about their concerns. Your dentist may prescribe a special toothpaste or mouth rinse to help keep your teeth healthy and free of cavities. If you do discover tooth decay or gum disease, have it treated as soon as possible to prevent more serious issues like tooth loss.
- Misaligned Teeth – If you find that you need braces, genetics could be to blame. Your genes help determine the size of your jaw during development. Having misaligned or crooked teeth can result in a series of problems, such as overcrowding, overbites, underbites, or gaps. When misalignments are caught early on, your dentist can recommend appliances to help the teeth grow properly and prevent problems in the future.
- Discoloration – Do your teeth stain easily or have noticeable discoloration? Tooth color is determined by several elements, including your genes and the environment. Some people are born with naturally thinner enamel which can make the teeth appear more yellow due to the dentin layer beneath the enamel. It is also normal to lose enamel as you age, making your teeth appear more discolored or stained.
How to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
While you can’t change your genetics, you can alter your oral health habits. Proper oral health care can help keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy. Remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. The way that you brush is also important. Take your time, moving the toothbrush in small, circular motions on the fronts and backs of the teeth. Don’t neglect your tongue while you brush as it can hold harmful bacteria.
Next, consider upgrading your dental products. Swap out your old toothbrush for a new one every three to four months. This helps ensure that the bristles remain effective and that any bacteria accumulation is minimal. If you aren’t already, use fluoride toothpaste as fluoride is the leading defense against tooth decay. Introducing a mouthwash to your daily oral health routine can help reduce the amount of acid in the mouth, clean hard-to-reach areas, and help remineralize the teeth.
Your diet also plays a role in the health of your teeth. Consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and keep sugary and starchy foods to a minimum. Crunchy fruits and veggies are especially good as they help scrape plaque from the teeth while chewing. It is also important to drink plenty of water. Try including a glass of water after each meal. Water helps flush out food particles in the mouth, neutralize acids, and reduce the negative impact of acidic and sticky foods.
Contact Our Clermont Family Dentistry
Interested in learning more about how your genetics affect your smile? Contact the team of experienced dental professionals at Hancock Village Dental for an appointment.