Do you feel as if you are always dealing with some sort of dental issue? You might even feel like it doesn’t have much to do with your oral hygiene anymore – you just have “bad teeth.” While genetics and family life do play a role when it comes to your oral health, this doesn’t mean that you need to put up with dental issues your whole life. Here’s what you need to know about oral health and how heredity plays a role.
How Do Genetics Play a Role in Your Oral Health?
For many, it is more likely that they will have issues related to their enamel or the development of their teeth due to genetic defects. Genetics also tend to affect your ability to produce saliva, a key defense mechanism in your mouth, and your immune system’s ability to fight off infections. For instance, both of these issues can significantly increase your risk of developing gum disease in the future.
Other Factors That Can Contribute to Oral Health
Just because you have similar dental issues to your close family members doesn’t necessarily mean they’re genetic. Here are a few other factors that can increase your probability of developing oral health issues:
- Family Meals: When you enjoy meals with your family, chances are that you are all eating the same thing – so it’s no surprise that you have similar oral health. Some foods are more beneficial to your dental health than others, so meals that your family chooses are important decisions. Ultimately, your diet is one of the bigger risk factors when it comes to developing tooth decay and other oral health problems.
- Bad Habits: It is entirely possible to pick up bad habits from the people around you. If your parents never prioritized their oral hygiene, it’s likely that you and your siblings haven’t either.
- Tobacco Use: If you come from a family where everyone either smokes or dips, you are statistically more likely to take part in the bad habit yourself. Smoking doubles your risk of developing gum disease and increases your chances of developing oral cancer. Excessive drinking can have negative consequences as well.
While your genes play a role in your oral health, you are still in control of your smile! By maintaining excellent oral hygiene, avoiding bad habits, eating healthy, and seeing your dentist regularly, you can keep your pearly whites in excellent shape!
About the Author
Dr. Richard Fossum is an experienced dentist who has been working in the field for well over 20 years. He earned his dental doctorate from the University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston and is committed to continuing education to keep his knowledge and skills sharp. Currently, he is a proud member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, Central Texas Dental Society, and the Academy of General Dentistry. For more information or to schedule an appointment at his office in Temple, visit his website or call (254) 778-3900.