Genetics and Oral Health
Many people wonder if their dental health issues are genetic. You might even wonder if you have your parents to thank for your cavities. Heredity can play a role when it comes to certain oral health conditions, but there’s no way to genetically test for the two most common dental diseases—tooth decay and gum disease. At Prescott Dentistry, we’re happy to help treat any issues you may be experiencing, genetic or not.
Habits and Hygiene vs. Genetics
You’re likely already aware that your daily habits have a large impact on your overall dental health. If you consume lots of sugary foods and drinks, or use alcohol and tobacco, you’re putting yourself at higher risk for dental problems. In addition, if you have poor dental hygiene and fail to brush and floss properly and regularly, you are likely looking at dental issues in your future.
However, these aren’t the only source of dental problems. Your genetics can also play a role in your dental health, and could factor into many common dental issues, such as tooth decay. Although we mentioned above that there is currently no way to test for a genetic predisposition to tooth decay, that doesn’t mean that genetics don’t play a role in tooth decay.
Hereditary Dental Conditions
The American Dental Association has shown a link between genetics and increased bacteria buildup that leads to gum disease. In fact, up to 30% of the population may have a genetic predisposition to gum disease. If you happen to have family members who have had gum disease, it may be a good idea to mention it to your dentist next time you’re in for a cleaning.
Most instances of oral cancer result from a lifestyle of smoking and consuming alcohol regularly. However, there is a chance that genetics play a role in whether or not you develop oral cancer. If you have had any family members who have had oral cancer, be proactive with your oral care and keep an eye out for any suspicious growths. If you notice any type of white or red sore in your mouth, you should reach out to a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Seeking Treatment for Dental Issues
Unfortunately, you can’t change your genes. The good news is, you can prevent most dental issues. If you know you may be genetically predisposed to gum disease or tooth decay, you can be proactive and take the necessary steps towards a healthier mouth.
You should brush and floss your teeth regularly, avoid using tobacco products or alcohol often, and steer away from the sugary foods when possible. Most of all, make sure to set regular appointments for dental cleanings and checkups.
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