How Genetics Affect Your Dental Health

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Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

September 30, 2018

Genetic factors account for 50% of susceptibility to periodontics. This report is according to a study of genetic syndromes and inherited diseases. There’s a close correlation between genetics and dental health.

Practicing good dental care is crucial for health reasons. Brushing and flossing help in preventing gum disease, decay and tooth loss. However, genetic factors may sometimes overshadow your best intentions.

They can contribute to poor dental health in your teeth and gums. Keep on reading to learn more!

Genetics and Your Teeth

There are people who eat lots of candy and rarely brush their teeth, but they seem to have great dental health. Others are careful about their dental health and visit a dentist twice a year, but they still experience dental issues.

Such a situation can be attributed to genetic factors. For example, IL1-alpha and IL1-beta genes. They predispose you to periodontics. Keep in mind that genes are responsible for the alignment of your teeth. Others influence dental cavities and tooth decay regardless of how well you take care of your teeth.

In fact, 60 percent of the risk of tooth decay is due to genetic factors. Genetics play a role in different areas of your dental health and lifestyle. For example:

  • Tooth enamel – Genes determine how strong the enamel is. People with softer enamel are prone to bacterial infections, resulting in cavities.
  • Saliva strength – Saliva must have enough potassium, calcium, and other elements for healthy teeth.
  • Immune system – Having a strong immune system is likely to guard you against gum disease
  • Shape – Some tooth shapes make it harder to floss, and hence the teeth are likely to form plaque.

Most cavities begin as holes in the teeth due to acids in plaque. Genes determine the enamel structure, so softer enamel means a higher likelihood of having cavities. Also, teeth with many grooves are an excellent breeding ground for bacteria.

The chemical composition of your saliva is also crucial. It determines how you can neutralize acids. The acids are responsible for plaque formation and tooth decay. If the acid is not neutralized, it penetrates the grooves and crevices in the teeth.

Genetics and Behavior

Our genes are responsible for most of our behaviors. In relation to dental health habits, genes influence the foods you choose. For example, a stronger genetic preference to sweets means a higher tooth decay risk. Genes also determine how the body processes foods.

Regular consumption of sweets will lead to dental problems. There’s nothing you can do to change your genes, but you can observe your family habits. Take note of the inherited weaknesses and don’t indulge in habits that will lead to dental health problems.

Genetic Testing

Unfortunately, no genetic test can predict the likelihood of developing cavities or gum disease. Some of the tests available in the market are predictive. They look for clues in your DNA that could point to the risk of developing dental diseases.

The test results might show your DNA has a marker for a particular disease. This does not mean that you’ll ultimately get the disease. Environmental and lifestyle factors influence many dental health problems, like cavities.

These other factors could be more responsible for the risk of dental disease than the identified genetic marker. No single gene has ever been identified to have a significant impact like environmental influences.

History of dental disease and the food items you consume are examples of lifestyle and environmental factors. They put you at risk of developing cavities and may have nothing to do with your genetics.

Genetic testing may be sufficient to some extent in predicting potential future problems. However, a dentist’s tools are more accurate in predicting the future of your dental health.

Final Thoughts

Your genes influence your dental health. However, do not blame it all on genetics if you’re not taking the necessary precautions. Just because your genes predispose you to poor dental health does not mean that you can’t practice preventative maintenance.

Let go of bad behaviors that put you more at risk of gum disease and cavities. Instead, brush your teeth more often, eat a balanced diet, and floss regularly. See your dentist often for a dental health checkup.

If you’re doing the best you can to maintain good dental health but still have problems, seek help. Good Samaritan Dental Implant Institute can help you manage your dental issues. Contact them today, and their team of experts will book you for a consultation session.

Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

Hello there, great choice moving towards the personal dental health care you desire!

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