Are My Oral Health Problems Genetic?
Did you know that some oral health problems are genetic? Unfortunately, more than just your height and eye color can be passed down to you by your parents. For some families, they run the risk of having increased oral health problems. Here are some common genetic oral health problems and how you can fight them.
Common Genetic Oral Health Problems
While not oral health problems are considered genetic, some are. While family genes can play a big role in oral conditions, other factors like our lifestyles, diets, and more can too. Colgate lists some of the genetic defects that can affect your mouth:
This is the complete absence of teeth. Though it’s genetic, anodontia is extremely rare.
This condition is also known as partial anodontia, which is when a person is missing up to five teeth from birth, not including their wisdom teeth. Most commonly missing are the premolars and lateral incisors. Affecting 1 in 18 people, this is the most common dental genetic abnormality.
Defective or missing enamel is classified under amelogenesis. Enamel is the protective outer layer of the teeth. This condition can also cause malocclusion or misalignment. Amelogenesis is rare, affecting 1 out of every 7,000-14,000 people.
This condition results in discoloration of the teeth. With it, the teeth are also more weak and prone to breakage.
Cleft Lip and Palate
A cleft lip is an oral malformation that occurs during the development of the baby during pregnancy. The result is an improper formation of the roof of the mouth, the lips, or both.
In addition to these more-rare problems, common dental health issues like gum disease can also link to genetics. The American Academy of Periodontology reports that research has indicated people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease, even despite having a good oral healthcare routine.
Common Illnesses that Cause Oral Health Problems
In addition to getting oral conditions from your parents, sometimes other health problems can have negative affects on our oral health and vice versa. Mayo Clinic explains the link between various diseases and oral health:
- Endocarditis: This is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves, and typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from other places of your body, like the mouth, spread through the bloodstream and attach to the heart.
- Cardiovascular disease: Though this can be caused by a number of other factors, research suggests that clogged arteries and stroke could be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
- Pregnancy and birth complications: Periodontitis has been linked to birth problems and low birth weight.
- Pneumonia: bacteria in the mouth can make its way into your lungs, which can cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
- Diabetes: by reducing the body’s ability to fight infection, diabetes can put your gums at risk. Gum disease has been shown to be more frequent and severe in people who also have diabetes. Further research has shown that people with gum disease have a more difficult time managing their blood sugar, however, regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.
- HIV/Aids: Painful lesions are common in those who have HIV/Aids.
- Osteoporosis: This disease attacks the bones, making them weak. Due to this, osteoporosis patients can have periodontal bone and tooth loss.
- Alzheimer’s disease: As this disease progresses, many tend to have worsening oral health.
Taking Care of Your Oral Health
While you can’t prevent every oral health problem, you can take significant action that can help reduce the risk and severity of future complications. To take care of your teeth and gums, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene each and every day. A proper oral healthcare routine at home for most people includes:
- Brushing your teeth in the morning and right before bed
- Using fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing each day
- Limiting added sugar and acidic food and drinks
However, one of the most important parts of taking care of your oral health is visiting your dentist at least twice a year, or once every six months. Your dentist and their team will examine and deep clean your mouth, looking for signs of problems in areas you might not be able to see. Catching problems early is a good way to keep them from developing into something serious that’s harder to control. Your dentist will be trained to look in those hard-to-see spots for cavities, decay, and more that, if left untreated, could cause tooth loss.
Call Dr. Ania
While not oral health problems are genetic, some could be. The best way to know is to talk about it with your dentist. If you’re overdue for a dentist appointment, call Dr. Ania’s team today at (303)-872-9940. Prioritizing your health and working hard to keep you safe and healthy during COVID-19, Dr. Ania is here to help keep your mouth healthy and your smile big. Make an appointment now!