Our family history affects our bodies, playing into one of the numerous factors affecting our oral health daily. Research has revealed that those with a genetic history of poor oral health have a higher chance of developing oral problems later. These factors don’t just influence how high you are at risk of tooth decay – they also influence dental alignment, tooth shape, mouth size, and even jawbone growth. Our genetics can have a huge influence even on our enamel’s ability to protect against bacteria. Here’s what we mean by enamel history and how you can detect if you’re at risk of oral health problems.
Our Genetic History and Its Impact on Oral Health
Our genetics are responsible for practically every facet of our bodies and their operation. Because genetics plays a strong role in developing our bodies, it also plays a role in how our enamel forms, how our teeth align, and how vulnerable our mouths become when faced with tooth decay and gum disease. The phrase “it runs in the family” has some truth. It can make up factors that determine your likelihood of dental misalignments, tooth decay, impacted teeth, and other health conditions that can also be congenital while often influenced by your environment.
To better understand this, here are some commonly known examples of how genetics plays a role in our oral health:
- Tooth Enamel: Genes play a huge role in developing enamel, especially during the pre-conception stages of pregnancy. As the fetus forms, genetic material from both parents determines the strength of the enamel and, in turn, determines how the baby’s teeth form and grow over time. Weakened baby enamel can easily result from genetic material, causing a higher vulnerability to cavities later on.
- Saliva Production: Even our saliva production can be determined by our genetics. Family members with dry mouths tend to pass on those genes. Because low saliva production can lead to cavities, it’s important to pay attention to early warning signs of dry mouth, such as difficulties swallowing, to receive treatment.
- Sweet Preference: Our genes even determine our preferences for sweet foods! Some studies have shown that the stronger your genetic preference for sweets, the more likely you will develop tooth decay. So, if you really love sweets, then make sure to brush your teeth!
- Jaw and Mouth Alignment: Our genetics also influence our jaw and mouth alignment, affecting the way our teeth grow over time. If your family’s prone to misaligned teeth, then it’s super important for children in your family to get checkups to help keep better track of their tooth development.
How Your Dentist Can Help Your Family’s Health
Providing your family’s history during an oral exam is more crucial than often realized. Our genetics are some of the key indicators for common oral diseases such as cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. If you need an oral checkup, contact your dental provider and make sure to update them on your oral health history to find a dentist that will ensure you proper oral care for generations to come!