Nature v. Nurture: Are Bad Teeth Genetic?
It is well known that genetics are responsible for the overall structure of your body, but do teeth and gum issues also come from inherited traits? Sometimes it can be difficult to know if oral health issues are caused by nature or nurture, which then can make it more challenging to find the right solution! Read on to learn about which oral and dental health traits are affected by hereditary genes, and how to look after your teeth and gums accordingly…
Overcrowding of teeth in the mouth or crooked teeth is a hereditary trait and can make it harder to maintain good oral health as it is more difficult to reach certain areas in the mouth, which can allow plaque and cavities to form in the hidden spaces between your teeth. Overcrowding can also cause issues with misaligned bite, which can lead to further issues with jaw pain and chewing problems. However, orthodontic braces and retainers can help to realign your teeth and can even fix problems with overcrowding, so you don't have to be a victim to genetics forever!
A predisposition to periodontal (gum) disease can also be passed down genetically and can cause a myriad of symptoms from toothache to bleeding gums. Luckily, gum disease can be treated and managed as long as it’s caught early! If you are aware of gum disease in your family, make sure you mention this to your dentist as they can take this into account when making an individual treatment plan for you.
The colour of your teeth is determined by a mix of genetic traits and your environment. Some people can have thinner enamel, which is genetically passed down and can be more susceptible to yellowing. However, the colour of your teeth can also be affected by certain foods and drinks, whether or not you smoke, and poor oral hygiene. Make sure you’re doing the best by your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist twice yearly. If you are unhappy with the colour of your teeth even after giving them the best cleaning routine, you can look into whitening treatments applied either at home or in-office at your dentist. Nature might determine your tooth colour, but in this case you have options on how to change this to better suit you!
In a nutshell: Yes, some oral health attributes are directly linked to genetics, but that doesn’t mean you have no control over your overall dental health and aesthetics! Don’t be discouraged by traits that have been passed down to you, remember that everyone is different and very few people get through life with no dental health issues. Rather than stressing about things you cannot control, seize control of those you can! Maintain your oral health to the best of your ability by brushing twice daily with a good quality toothbrush and flossing, and make sure to pay regular visits to your dentist!