Could your oral health lie within your genes? You make sure to practice good oral hygiene, yet you still experience cavities and other dental issues. That’s because the dental issues you’re experiencing could be linked to your genes.
Genetics and Tooth Decay
Research has shown that genetic variations influence the rate of dental caries. Specifically, variations on a gene called beta defensin 1 (DEFB1) plays an important role in immune responses against invading germs.
Genetics and Other Oral Health issues
- Periodontitis: Other oral health issues can be related to your genes. Periodontitis, a mouth disease which is characterized by a rapid and severe destruction of the gums and bone, have been mapped to a specific gene marker. Researchers found a link between periodontitis and a gene called FAM5C. If gum disease is common in your family, be sure to mention it to your dentist.
- Oral Cancer: Individuals who have certain genetic markers have a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Research has shown that certain genes can alter the way mouth enzymes work which can increase the risk of oral cancer.
- Misaligned teeth: If you need your teeth straightened, chances are genetics played a role. Your genes determine your jaw size which affects if your teeth are crowded, have gaps, and if you have an overbite or underbite.
Ways to Keep Your Mouth Healthy – Even If You’re Facing Genetic Issues
There are direct results of your genes interacting with the environment, which can include diseases such as dental caries and periodontal disease. Oral health diseases are considered “complex” since they involve multiple interactions between genes and environmental factors such as smoking, eating habits, and the impacts of stress. You can’t choose your genes, but you can make choices that will lessen environmental impacts to help keep your mouth healthier and more attractive.
Lifestyle Choices – Lifestyle choices play a large factor in whether or not you will develop oral health issues. Smoking and drinking alcohol have been proven to contribute to a higher risk of oral cancer. Quit smoking and drink alcohol in moderation to help keep your mouth healthy. Beware of smokeless tobacco, it can also irritate gum tissues.
Orthodontic Treatment – Orthodontic treatment corrects misaligned teeth. Besides giving you the beautiful smile you deserve, orthodontics can help correct overcrowding or gaps between your teeth. Most people can wear Invisalign®, also known as invisible braces. These invisible braces are a series of clear, custom-made aligners that gradually reposition your teeth.
Good Oral Hygiene – Practice good oral hygiene to help combat any genetic influences by:
- Brushing twice a day for two minutes.
- Flossing between your teeth once a day.
- Eating a balanced, healthy diet. A diet low in nutrients can lessen your body’s ability to fight infection and increase your susceptibility to gum disease.
Get Regular Dental Checkups – Visit your dentist regularly to have cleanings. Dental cleanings by your dentist or dental technician removes deep-seated plaque and other mouth debris that you can’t remove by brushing and flossing alone. Your dentist will also periodically take x-rays of your mouth. X-rays give a deep look at what’s happening in your teeth and bones that isn’t visible to the naked eye. Dental cavities and other oral issues can be spotted early using x-rays, and early treatment can mean you’re impacted less severely by oral health issues.
Find out more about keeping your teeth and gums healthy by contacting Central Avenue Dental. We offer general, cosmetic and advanced dentistry services to help keep your mouth healthy and your smile looking good.