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How Our Family Tree Influences Our Dental Health

Family brushing together

There are a lot of elements that determine our oral health. Like many aspects of our health, genetic factors and family history have a clear role to play. Ongoing research shows that our genetic heritage can reveal clues to our oral health future. While this was anticipated, one surprising outcome is the degree to which it can impact our oral health. The alignment, shape, and size of our teeth can all be determined by genetic factors. However, the resilience of our enamel and how it responds to acid and bacteria are also affected. We’re going to further explore the impact of family genetics on oral health.

The Genetic Influence On Our Dental Health

Deoxyribonucleic acid, most commonly known as DNA, is the storehouse for the blueprints of our body. This string of amino acids holds the patterns of genes that describe every aspect of our body. The shape of our face, the color of our eyes, and the alignment of our teeth are all defined by our DNA. We obtain half of our DNA from each of our parents, and with them, much of their appearance and health concerns. This is the underpinning reason that our oral health trends within family lines. DNA impacts our oral health concerns in the following ways:

  • Teeth having gaps from misalignment
  • Overcrowding of teeth
  • Shape and size of our jaw
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

No matter what issues we face due to our genetic heritage, there’s one part of our oral health that we can manage. One benefit we get from knowing our family heritage is which parts of our oral health we need to focus on. Regardless, maintaining a steady routine of brushing and flossing ensures that we can keep our concerns with oral health at a minimum. Knowing what troubles our ancestors faced with oral health can let us know what products and treatments can benefit us to prevent issues. Some concerns that are impacted by oral health include:

  • Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) – Even those who don’t have a predisposition to gum disease will frequently develop it. Nearly 33% of all Americans will develop gingivitis at some point in their lives. Inflammation, bleeding gums, and sensitivity can all indicate its presence.
  • Tooth Decay – Poor oral hygiene is the leading cause of tooth decay, but it isn’t the only cause. Our genetic heritage can make our enamel softer than average, making it more susceptible to wear and tear. It’s even possible that only certain teeth will be more vulnerable than others due to genetic background.
  • Misaligned Teeth – It can be easy to spot teeth that aren’t situated as they should be. This ease of identification makes it one of the most commonly spotted genetic oral health concerns. If you know this runs in your family, it can be identified even before your children’s teeth erupt. This will allow planning future orthodontic care to prevent problems.

Speak With Your Dentist To Get Further Advice

Your dentist will provide you with all you need to know about how genetics can impact your oral health. Let them know what problems run in your family, and they’ll provide options for addressing them.

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