Genetics & Your Oral Health

Knowing and understanding your family’s dental history is a vital part of preventative care. Everyone’s risk factor for certain dental issues is different, and genetics can often times play a role in how susceptible you are. Below are a few oral health conditions that have the potential to be passed down from older generations.
Oral Cancer
Even if you and your immediate family don’t smoke or use tobacco, there’s always a risk for certain oral cancers to arise. Especially if one of your parents has battled mouth cancer, getting regular checkups and thorough oral exams are indispensable. Furthermore, practicing good oral hygiene at home and living a healthy lifestyle may also reduce your risk for oral cancer if you’re genetically predisposed to it.  While research is still ongoing as to the extent of genetic’s effect on a patient’s risk factor, additional caution and preventative care are worth taking until a definitive study is performed. 
Gap Teeth
The shape of your jaw can be a determining factor in how your teeth naturally align. For example, someone who is born with a smaller jaw might have teeth that appear crowded. Genes can greatly influence a person’s bone structure, so conditions like gap teeth and overbites can definitely run in families. Braces and Invisalign® can work wonders when it comes to straightening and correcting tooth alignment. Talking to an orthodontist can help you decide which option is best for you so that your smile shines as brightly as possible. 
Gum Disease
Studies have shown that gum disease can actually run in families as well. Gum disease can result in tooth loss if left entirely untreated. If your close family members have experienced frequent cases of gingivitis or tooth loss from gum disease, maintaining proper oral hygiene and keeping track of your gums’ health is even more important. 
Always disclose serious family medical issues to your Hewlett, NY dentist so that they can give you the best care possible! As mentioned before, just how much your genes can influence your oral health is still being studied. If you make positive lifestyle changes such as keeping a healthy diet, you’ll greatly reduce your chances of having dental problems whether it’s in your DNA or not. 
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