Are Dental Problems Genetic?

Your oral health largely relies on your actions, taking proper care of your smile with at-home efforts and routine attention from your dentist. But factors outside of your control can affect the well-being of your teeth and gums too. For instance, genetics can play a major role in your risk of forming dental problems.

If a member of your family suffers from certain issues in their smile, you might face the same risk. But which complications stem from this family history? Read on to find three examples of dental concerns that can occur due to genetics.

Are Dental Problems Genetic

Dental Misalignment

You might hear that your teeth can grow crooked, gapped, or overlapped due to poor oral habits, including thumb sucking or lip biting as a child. This is true, but your jaw shape and tooth positioning are also influenced by genetics.

If you have a narrow palate, crowded teeth, or bite problems, these can occur naturally without a more controllable cause. A misaligned smile might make you feel self-conscious about the appearance of your teeth. But these dental alignment issues can also put you at a higher risk of further oral health complications, including TMJ disorders.

A dentist can amend minor bite problems with Invisalign or other cosmetic solutions. But for more severe malocclusions, you might need a referral to an orthodontist.

Gum Disease

Gum disease refers to a common type of infection in the gum tissue. Though prevalent, affecting about half of adults, it can cause severe, irreversible damage to the gums, teeth, and jaw without treatment from a dentist.

Poor oral hygiene can heighten the risk of plaque spreading bacteria through the mouth where they can infect the gums. But some people are in greater danger of this oral infection due to their genetics. You might have more aggressive oral bacteria due to an inherited condition which can make you more likely to contract gum disease.

Seek routine periodontal disease screenings from your dentist to diagnose and treat this infection promptly before it can hurt your smile. Practice good at-home dental care as well to reduce the risk of this infection.

Tooth Decay

Most people are familiar with cavities, an early stage of tooth decay. They form when natural oral bacteria penetrate weak spots in your tooth enamel to eat away at your dental structure. Decay will worsen and can cause significant damage to your teeth unless you seek prompt treatment from your dentist.

Lingering plaque and consuming acidic substances can erode enamel and put you in danger of tooth decay. But genetics can play a role in making you susceptible to cavities as well.

Aggressive oral bacteria can be more likely to hurt your teeth. And your family history might also lead you to have thinner or weaker enamel naturally. Talk to your dentist to find preventative dental care that suits your unique smile and protects you from tooth decay as well as other dental problems.