Our DNA plays a role in every aspect of our appearance, personality, and health. Even our dental health can be directly impacted by our genetics, meaning our parent’s problems can become our own. Despite this, our teeth are as helpful for identification as our fingerprints. They are often used to identify us when necessary. The genetic aspect of our oral health has been undergoing significant study, and its impacts are often surprising. Our genetics can influence our teeth’ shape, size, and position. They can also influence our ability to fight off tooth decay by influencing the strength of our enamel and the composition of our jawbone.
DNA’s Role In Our Overall Oral Health
The appearance and function of our teeth are just one of the essential elements determined by our oral health. DNA influences the proteins within our cells, our body’s ability to fend off streptococcus mutans, and much more. From our earliest ancestors to our parents, we have a long history of genetic traits that could influence ours. All of this combined information results in how we smile, how our teeth look, and our risks of certain diseases and conditions. Some oral health concerns that are influenced by our DNA include:
- Gum Disease – The CDC has been conducting ongoing studies into the impact of DNA on our oral health for many years. Nearly a third of Americans will have to contend with gingivitis at some point. However, our DNA can make us resistant to this condition or more susceptible. Those more prone to inflammation, dental sensitivity, and bleeding gums will often find they have a family history of this. Those with a history of diabetes in their family are doubly at risk, as diabetes can also increase the risk of gum disease.
- Tooth Decay – Unfortunately, many Americans don’t perform dental hygiene consistently or thoroughly enough. When this poor oral hygiene is combined with a genetic propensity to thin or weak enamel, trouble lies ahead. These individuals are more prone to problems from streptococcus mutans, the bacteria behind tooth decay.
- Misaligned Teeth – Our genetics also tend to influence the shape and alignment of our teeth and jawbone. Even the strength of our jawbone can be impacted by our genetics, making it more or less likely that our teeth can shift out of position over time.
These are among the ways our DNA can impact our overall oral health. Knowing your family history of oral health is essential to identify any concerns you may have to be alert for moving forward.
Speak To Your Dentist For Further Guidance
If you’re concerned about your family’s oral health history and want to discuss it with your dentist, schedule an appointment today. Working with these experts can help you develop a treatment plan that will help prevent or hold off potential long-term health concerns. Contemporary dental treatments can address many oral health concerns with a genetic component. Don’t let your genetic history of oral health influence the future of your smile; start taking steps today!