How is Genetics Related to Dentistry

Cousins smiling together at a family camping trip

Do you hear people say you've got your mother or father's smile? Did you know there's more you can inherit from your family members?

During dental visits, your dental team asks you about your family's medical history. There's a reason for this. You may also be wondering why you seem to have β€˜bad teeth’ when you have excellent oral hygiene habits and are seeing the dentist regularly.

Genetic makeup plays a role. Yes, you can inherit several traits in your mouth. But how much of your smile can be attributed to genetics? Let’s talk about this and more in this blog post.

Are dental problems hereditary?

Genes can play a part in the state of your oral health.

But according to the American Dental Association, to date, the impact of genetics on periodontal disease or gum disease isn't as large as the impact of environmental factors, such as smoking.

In an international study with over 500,00 participants, researchers found genes connected to dental caries and saliva quality. However, the relationship of some of these genes to oral health is still unclear and needs further studies.

The researchers also discovered shared genetic links between dental caries and other characteristics such as smoking and education. This suggests that genetic processes connected to dental caries may also affect the heart and metabolic health.

So, while genes may impact the mouth, several other factors still come into play. You can still be in control of your oral health.

Oral health issues where genetics may play a part

Here are examples of dental problems that can be hereditary.

  • Tooth decay. Genes play a role in a person’s risk of developing dental caries (tooth decay) or experiencing enamel erosion. But the extent to which it’s involved still requires follow-up studies. (1)
  • Gum disease. Genetics is also associated with periodontal disease or gum disease. But like other dental problems, several factors can make a person more susceptible to gum disease. (2)
  • Teeth alignment issues. Genetics is also found to impact dental irregularities, such as the absence of teeth and cleft lip or palate, that may require orthodontic procedures to correct. (3) This is why your dental team needs to be aware of oral and general health conditions that run in your family.

Researchers say that further research is necessary to understand better and verify the connection between genetic factors and oral health.

Your dental team can work with you to monitor your risks and customize programs to keep your oral health in good condition.

Learn more about genetics and your oral health

While genetics can play a part in our oral health, you can do something to boost your smile. You can protect your teeth and gums by focusing on factors that you can control.

Let your dentist know if you’re genetically predisposed to or suspect you've inherited oral health problems.

At Centrum Dental, we perform comprehensive oral exams to understand your dental care needs and susceptibility to dental problems. We map out an individualized treatment plan based on your situation.

If you’re in Kanata, Ontario, and are looking to schedule an oral exam, contact us at (613) 519‑3999. New patients are welcome, and we have evening appointments on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Our team has been looking after smiles in our community for over 25 years. It's always a pleasure to get to know and serve our neighbors.

So, if you're ready to book your consultation with the dentist, call us today. We're happy to help.

Sources:

1. Caries: Review of Human Genetics Research https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4167926/\

2. The role of inflammation and genetics in periodontal disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7319430/

3. The genetic basis of dental anomalies and its relation to orthodontics https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4054073/