Do Genetics Influence Oral Health?

Do genetics influence oral health?

We’ve all heard about growing scientific evidence of the effects our genetic makeup may have on a predisposition for certain diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. But what about dental diseases? Have you inherited a genetic inclination for cavities, periodontal disease, crooked teeth, or oral cancer?

You might be surprised to learn what the latest studies have to say about the connection between your genes and your oral health. What part of your oral health is actually in your control?

Genes and cavities

Are genetics a significant factor when it comes to developing cavities? Yes and no. Cavities are caused by bacteria. Sugar in the foods we eat feed the different types of bacteria that live on our teeth. The acid these bacteria produce is what erodes enamel and causes cavities.

A recent study showed that although there was a genetic disposition to some types of tooth bacteria, these generally weren’t the ones associated with tooth decay. Instead, the types of bacteria that could form cavities were those influenced by controllable factors, like eating sugary foods.

However, genetics also affect such things as the strength of your tooth enamel and how much bacteria-fighting saliva you produce. If your family seems to have a high incidence of dental cavities, what can you do? Ask your dentist about protecting your teeth with dental sealants. These can give your teeth the extra protection they may need to fight off the damaging effects of decay.

In the final analysis of the question of “nature or nurture” when it comes to cavities, the likelihood of your getting a cavity is probably more largely affected by environmental factors and not your genes. The best way to prevent cavities is still the dentist-recommended routine of daily brushing and flossing and regularly scheduled hygiene visits.

Genes and gum disease

Gum disease is characterized by sensitive and inflamed gums and if left untreated, can result in tooth and bone loss.

While genetic factors are known to play a role in gum disease, a lot of research still needs to be done to understand all the factors involved in its development. Periodontitis is a complex chronic inflammatory disease which is affected not only by genetic risk factors but also environmental factors and lifestyle. Today, dentists recognize that while genetic factors may be involved, the biggest contributing factor to gum disease is still a lack of consistently good oral care.

Is gum disease a problem members of your family have struggled to control? It would be good to mention it to your dentist. Early diagnosis and treatment is still the best way to protect your gums and teeth.

Is your family to blame for your bad teeth?

Genes and misaligned teeth

If you need braces, you’re probably not the only one in the family. Genetics play a significant role in determining the size of your jaw and teeth. When the jaw doesn’t have sufficient room to accommodate a full set of teeth, it can cause crowding, gaps, overbites, and underbites.

If tooth misalignment is a common problem in your family’s dental history, be sure to tell your dentist and don’t wait to get orthodontic treatment for your child. The earlier the treatment, the better. Early treatment can allow developing bones and teeth to grow in properly and prevent more serious and costly problems later.

Genes and oral cancer

Thousands of Americans die from oral cancer each year. Although lifestyle choices, such as tobacco and alcohol use, are the top risk factors for oral cancer, genetics can also play a minor role. Individuals carrying certain genetic markers have been found to have a higher risk of developing the disease.

Most dentists routinely screen for oral cancer during a patient’s hygiene visit. They use special equipment that can detect early cancer lesions before they have an opportunity to develop any further. If your dentist does not offer this life-saving exam as part of their routine treatment exam, then be sure to ask about it.

Who should you blame?

When it comes to problems with your oral health, as we’ve seen, there are many factors involved. Some of them you can blame on the collective gene pool of your parents; for others, sorry to say, you can only blame yourself.

When it comes to your health, a proactive, preventive approach is always the best course to take. If you know of genetic factors that could affect your oral health, be sure to talk to your dental provider about them, and as for factors you can control, take advantage of these by practicing an excellent oral care routine.

 


 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

 

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What Causes Receding Gums?

Smile with receding gums causes and solutions

Receding gums refers to gum tissue that has begun to pull away from the tooth structure, thus exposing more of the tooth and tooth root. What causes gum recession? Should you be alarmed if it happens to you? And can receding gums be fixed?

Left untreated, gum recession could make the tooth root or even bone tissue completely vulnerable—risking damage to the tooth nerve, losing the tooth, or a more severe infection! In this article, we’ll discuss the causes, symptoms, and real solutions for the condition known as receding gums.

What causes receding gums?

As with any condition, many factors can contribute to receding gums.

Periodontal disease takes home the first place prize of what causes receding gums. This spreading infection of the gingivae slowly eats away at your healthy gum and bone tissue.

Brushing your teeth too hard or too much can cause your gums to recede, according to the Journal of Periodontology.

Inadequate oral hygiene contributes to bad bacteria and plaque buildup—which destroy your gums.

Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can make your gum tissues more vulnerable to recession. The use of birth control hormones may also have a similar effect.

Tobacco users usually have more plaque buildup that hurts gums. Smokeless tobacco can irritate your gums, causing gum (periodontal) disease. To enhance the flavor of smokeless tobacco, sugar is often added, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

Grinding your teeth or a misaligned bite can cause irregular wear patterns on your gums and teeth, resulting in gum recession in the affected areas.

Certain medications or medical conditions can also inflame your gums or cause them to be more susceptible to periodontal disease.

How can you tell if your gums are receding?

Now that we know what causes receding gums, what should you do if you suspect your gums are pulling away? Only a qualified dental professional can properly diagnose and help you treat the condition. Healthy gums are a nice healthy pink color and the gum line looks consistent around all your teeth. If your gums are receding, you will likely begin to notice:

  • Gums that are pulling away from the tooth
  • Teeth appear to be longer than others
  • Swollen gums
  • Pockets or gaps between teeth
  • Reddish or bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Teeth that are becoming loose

How can you fix receding gums?

Woman brushing her teeth to prevent what causes receding gums

Do you experience any of the above symptoms? Since gum tissue does not grow back, you need to talk with your dentist about personalized ways you can prevent gingival recession and stop gums from receding further. If you have gum disease, your gums and bone structure may put up a good fight against this progressive issue, but they cannot win the battle without help from a qualified oral health expert!

Depending on the amount of damage caused by gum disease, you may be able to get a deep cleaning and antibiotics to help clear out the infection and harmful bacteria. For more advanced cases, surgery or tissue grafting will be needed to regenerate the damaged gum and bone structures.

Remember that gum disease is not the only cause of receding gums. Preventive measures such as aligning your bite, using a custom night guard, quitting smoking, and treating cavities early on will help prevent damage to your precious smile!

You can fight gum recession!

You can prevent gum disease by brushing and flossing at least twice a day, attending regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist twice a year, and eating a well-balanced and healthy diet. We might say this a lot, but prevention is key. Simply knowing what causes receding gums won’t solve the problem. If you suspect your gums are receding, you should contact your dentist immediately to find out the cause of receding gums and prevent further damage.

Healthy gums are the foundation for a healthy smile, so taking care of your gums is tantamount to taking care of your pearly whites!


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

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