Does it always seem like you’re dealing with one oral health problem or another? You may even feel like you just have “bad teeth” and there’s no way around it. If your parents have had similar dental issues, you may be wondering if you were genetically predisposed to dental health problems. While genetics and family play a role in your oral health, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go the rest of your life with tooth pain and an unsightly smile. Here’s what you should know.
How Do Genetics Play a Role in Oral Health?
There are some people who are more likely to have dental problems related to their tooth enamel or development due to genetic defects. Genetics can also affect your ability to produce saliva, which is a key defense mechanism in your mouth and your immune system to give you the ability to fight off infections. Ultimately, both of these things can increase your risk of developing gum disease.
Other Family-Related Factors that Contribute to Dental Health
Just because you and your family members have similar dental issues doesn’t necessarily mean that it is written in your genetics. It could be simply because you share parallel lifestyle habits. Here are some factors that can play a role in a family’s oral health:
- Eating Habits: When you share meals with your family, you are eating many similar food items. If this is the case for you, it’s no wonder that your oral health is also in comparable shape. Some foods are more beneficial for your smile than others, so the meals that your family chooses play an important role. Diet is one of the most prominent factors that contribute to tooth decay and other oral health issues.
- Bad Practices: It is easy to pick up bad habits from the people you are close to. For instance, if your parents and siblings never prioritized their dental hygiene, it is probable that you follow suit.
- Tobacco Use: If you come from a family where everyone smokes or uses other tobacco products, you are statistically more likely to pick up the habit yourself. Smoking doubles your risk for developing gum disease and significantly increases your chances of oral cancer. Excessive drinking can also have negative effects.
The health of your smile may be partially hereditary, but you are still in control! By maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine, avoiding bad habits, eating healthy, and keeping up with regular cleanings and checkups, you can easily overcome any genetic issues!
About the Author
Dr. Gilberto López is an experienced dentist who has been working in the field for over 25 years. He earned his dental doctorate from the University of Guadalajara and is a proud member of the American Dental Association, Arkansas State Dental Association, and River Valley Dental Association. If you’ve been struggling with dental issues, he would be happy to help you get your smile back on track. For more information or to schedule an appointment at his office in Fort Smith, visit his website or call (479) 434-4277.