Rockwall Oral Surgery

Are “Bad Teeth” Really Genetic?

Your parents have given you a lot in life. They’re responsible for your eye color, hair color, personality traits, and so much more. While you’ve inherited some good traits, there are likely some not-so-great traits you may have inherited. Increased risk for oral or dental problems could be one of those less-than-desirable traits. 

Ultimately, yes, dental issues and problems can run in the family. This isn’t just due to bad habits you may have picked up from your parents or older siblings. Some of this could be due to a lack of education around proper oral hygiene but at the end of the day, these dental issues are mostly rooted in genetics. Here are 4 oral health issues that you could be at risk for if dental issues “run in your family”:

Periodontal (gum) disease

Gum disease is often accompanied by sensitive or inflamed gums. If left untreated or ignored, it could lead to decay and in extreme cases, may even lead to tooth or bone loss. This oral health issue is more common than you think it is and if you know other family members have struggled with it in the past, it’s important to talk to your dentist about how you can take preventative measures because chances are, you are at a higher risk for developing this as well. 

Tooth Decay

Have your parents ever told you “Cavities run in our family”? That might actually be true. Certain variations of the gene beta-defensin (DEFB1) have been linked to a greater risk of cavities in permanent teeth. If you know one or both of your parents get cavities more often than the average person, talk to your dentist about sealants or fluoride treatments and ask if they’re right for you. You may want to opt for more frequent visits to the dentist as well so you can catch cavities as early as possible and have them treated before they become an issue. If left untreated, tooth decay may aggravate gum disease or worse, lead to tooth loss. 

Oral Cancer

While there are lifestyle factors that can contribute to increased risk for this disease like frequent tobacco use and alcohol use, genetics are known to play a minor role as well. Having conversations with your parents around cancer may be uncomfortable, but it’s important to be aware of your family health history so you can take preventative actions. If you know this is a part of your oral history, you should consider cutting out tobacco usage, drinking alcohol, and ensure you’re eating a balanced diet. 

Crooked Teeth

Genetics play a major role in determining the size and shape of your jaw. This leads to overbites, underbites, gaps, and crowding. While this is often caught as a child or even a teenager, it may not have been as bad earlier in your life. You may be only just now realizing it bothers you. The best-case scenario is treating it as early as possible, but depending on the severity of the case, there are options for those who are treating it later in life. 

All of these oral health problems may be genetic, but the important thing is that if caught and addressed early, there are preventative actions and steps we can help you put in place to avoid bigger issues down the road. Our team has worked with these issues on all levels and can work with you to put plans in place that fit you and your lifestyle! Call Dr. Pollock of Rockwall Oral Surgeons today at (469) 264-8921 for more information or to schedule an appointment.