Do Genetics Affect Dental Health?

Multigenerational family with similar genetics smile with good dental health

As scientists learn more about the human genome, they discover additional links between our genetics and our overall health. At Signature Smiles Dental, we are intrigued by the relationship between our genes and the health of our smiles. Genetics may explain why some people are more susceptible to cavities than others, or why certain people require extensive orthodontic work while others have naturally straight teeth. Today, we want to explore some of the ways your genes can influence your teeth.

Are Cavities Genetic?

Tooth decay and cavities are primarily the result of poor oral hygiene and a diet high in sugar and starches. When the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars, they produce acid that slowly weakens and decays your tooth enamel, eventually wearing holes in your enamel called cavities. However, recent research suggests that certain people may have a genetic disadvantage when it comes to cavities: some saliva contains fewer minerals that can counteract acid erosion on enamel.

Is Gum Disease Hereditary?

If gum disease runs in your family, chances are higher that you may also develop gum disease. However, you can still protect yourself from gum inflammation (called gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease) and gum infection (called periodontitis) with daily gentle brushing and flossing and regular cleanings at our office.

Did My Parents Give Me Crooked Teeth?

Genetics are responsible for the size of your jaw, which partly determines the alignment of your teeth. Therefore, issues with tooth alignment, malocclusion, and spacing tend to run in the family. Fortunately, modern orthodontic treatment is more comfortable and efficient than ever before.

Genetics Aren’t the Only Factor

Keep in mind that even if your genes did not gift you with a perfect smile and some of the dental issues above run in your family, modern dentistry and good oral health habits can give you the smile of your dreams! An outstanding at-home oral hygiene routine, a nutritious diet, and regular visits to our office can ensure your smile stays healthy.

To ask our team any questions about how to maintain a healthy smile or to schedule a checkup, contact our office today!