Article at a Glance
- There is evidence to suggest a genetic component to oral health problems.
- Anodontia is the congenital absence of one or more teeth. There are options for replacing the missing teeth or closing the gap by moving the back teeth forward.
- Crooked teeth, tooth decay, and discolored teeth are generally caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
You brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly, but somehow your smile is less than perfect. Is it possible that your genes have something to do with it? While science has been unable to identify a specific gene that affects your teeth and gums, there is some evidence of a genetic component oral health.
Is Gingivitis Hereditary?
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is primarily caused by plaque, but like many conditions there are other factors that can determine whether or not you’ll develop gingivitis. Lifestyle choices like tobacco use and poor nutrition can increase your risk for developing gum disease, but there is also a genetic component. Research suggests that some people may be more likely to end up with gum disease based on their dental genetics, but it is more likely a combination of genes and lifestyle. Early intervention is your best chance at preventing gum disease regardless of genetic and environmental factors.
Congenitally Missing Teeth
It is not uncommon to be born without one or more teeth, a condition known as anodontia that can affect temporary or permanent teeth. This is most commonly seen with upper lateral incisors and lower premolars. Some people are even fortunate enough to be born without third molars, also known as wisdom teeth. In these cases, the treatment options vary depending on the type of tooth that is missing and the anatomy of the patient’s mouth.
- The space can be opened to accommodate a prosthetic tooth or teeth.
- The back teeth could be moved forward to close the space and allow the canines to replace the lateral incisors.
- A combination of opening one space and closing the other could be used.
Are Bad Teeth Genetic?
Do you have a gap between your front teeth? What about a tendency toward cavities even though you are diligent about your oral care routine? Are your crooked teeth genetic? The answer is yes, it is likely that your genes played a part in your less than ideal smile.
- Tooth decay is caused by different bacteria in our mouths. While the bacteria responsible for eroding tooth enamel is generally found in food and drinks we consume, there is a genetic component involved. Since genes control how our teeth develop, different people may be more resistant to bacteria than others.
- Crooked teeth are also caused by a combination of genes and environment. While some alignment issues are caused by your genes, other factors, like thumb sucking, can play a part, too.
- Again, tooth discoloration is due to a combination of genes and environmental factors. The way enamel forms is genetic, but other factors like diet and excess fluoride as a child can have an effect as well.
What You Can Do for Your Teeth
Science suggests that many common diseases are caused by a combination of multiple genes and environmental factors. Even though there’s no genetic test to determine if you will develop gum disease or require braces to fix crooked teeth, there are many things you can do to prevent or fix most oral health problems.
- Preventative care is the first step in protecting your teeth and gums. Adopt a good oral care routine complete with regular check-ups and professional teeth cleanings.
- Braces and orthodontics can correct alignment problems, bite deviations, and even protect teeth from traumatic injuries.
- Dental implants and prosthetic options, like dentures and bridges, can replace or at least cover gaps from missing teeth.
- If your teeth are discolored, you can explore teeth whitening to achieve your brightest smile!
If you’re concerned about your teeth or want to explore correcting some of these imperfections, the professionals at Jefferson Dental Care are ready to help. Make an appointment at the office nearest you today!