Do you find that you always seem to be dealing with one dental issue or another? You may even feel as if you just have “bad teeth,” and it isn’t in your control at all. If your parents have had similar dental issues, it may seem like you were genetically predisposed to dental health problems. While genetics and family life do play a role in your oral health, this doesn’t mean that you need to go the rest of your life in the dental chair day after day. Here is what you need to know.
How Do Your Genes Contribute to Your Oral Health?
There are some people out there who are more likely to have issues with their tooth enamel or development of their teeth due to genetic defects. Genetics can also affect your ability to produce saliva, which is a key defense mechanism in your mouth, and your immune system and ability to fight off infections. For instance, both of these things can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease.
Other Family Related Factors That Contribute to Dental Health
Just because you and your family members have similar dental issues doesn’t mean that it necessarily has to do with your genetics. Here are some other things that can contribute to the development of oral health problems:
- Family Meals: When you have meals with your family and eating all of the same things, it is no wonder than your oral health is in similar shape. Some foods are more beneficial for your oral health than others, so the meals that your family chooses is an important decision. After all, diet is one of the greatest risk factors when it comes to developing tooth decay.
- Bad Habits: It’s certainly possible to pick up bad habits from people you are close to. For instance, if your parents never prioritized their dental hygiene, it is likely that you and your siblings don’t either.
- Tobacco Use: If you come from a family where everyone smokes or dips, you are statistically more likely to pick up the habit yourself. Smoking doubles your risk for developing periodontal disease and increases your chances of developing oral cancer. Excessively drinking can have negative effects as well.
While the health of your smile is partially hereditary, remember that you are still in control. By maintaining excellent oral hygiene, avoiding bad habits, eating healthy, and seeing your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups, your smile will thank you!
About the Author
Dr. Frank Michitti earned his dental doctorate from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry and has completed courses at the prestigious Dawson Academy in Florida. He’s completed more than 1000 hours of continuing education and achieved Membership status in the Academy of General Dentistry. TO learn more about maintaining excellent oral health or to schedule an appointment at his office in Feeding Hills, visit his website or call (413) 786-4400.