Have you ever wondered if your genes affect your oral health? The answer is yes! Most physical traits –your eye color, your height, and yes, your teeth – are determined by your genetic makeup inherited from your parents. You may have wondered, “Did I inherit “bad teeth” from my parents?” Let’s look at a few specific ways that your DNA can influence your oral hygiene.
Factors like tooth size and shape, smile alignment, and jaw structure are all inherited. So if your parents required braces or wisdom tooth extraction to achieve a perfect smile, you are likely to need those treatments as well. But if your folks have naturally straight teeth, congrats! You might have hit the genetic jackpot.
Another aspect of oral health that we can thank good ol’ mom and dad for is enamel strength. Enamel is the outer layer of your teeth that protects against cavities. Some people inherit naturally thick enamel that is more resistant to decay. Others have thinner layers of enamel, which makes their teeth more sensitive and more vulnerable to dental problems.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, affects nearly half of Americans over age thirty. Studies show that genetics play a role in the development of gum disease, so if you know that it runs in your family, be sure to tell us at your next appointment! Early treatment is key to keeping gum disease under control.
No matter how your genetics may have affected your oral health, one thing you do have control over is how you take care of your smile. While you may have inherited certain aspects of your smile from your parents, it doesn’t doom you to “bad teeth.” What is more often inherited is ineffective brushing and flossing habits. Be sure to brush and floss every day, eat a tooth-friendly diet, and visit Advanced Dentistry of Nevada for checkups and cleanings every six months. Dr. Kalbaugh and the rest of our team will answer any questions you may have and keep your smile as healthy as possible, with or without help from your genes!