Are Tooth Decay and Gum Disease Genetic?

August 22, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — longmontteam @ 6:02 pm
family in a dental chair

Lots of traits can be passed down from generation to generation, such as hair color, height, and unfortunately, some diseases. Most of us have some unlucky condition in our family history, like heart disease or breast cancer. However, a new study from the University of Bristol in the UK suggests that genetics also play a part in whether you contract gum disease or tooth decay. Read more below as a dentist in Longmont talks about what the results of that study mean to you.

What Did the Study Find?

Researchers looked at the genetic code of nearly half a million Brits to determine whether oral health problems had a genetic basis. They were able to identify 47 different genes with connections to decay and gum disease. These include genes that help form the jawbone, those that affect bacteria on the teeth, and those that affect protective aspects of saliva.

The study also looked at a potential link between dental health issues and metabolic and cardiovascular health factors like obesity and smoking. The researchers concluded that there was a causal link between some of these risk factors and tooth decay.

What Does That Mean for You?

If you take diligent care of your teeth but still find yourself highly prone to cavities, that likely means it’s simply a part of your genetics. It could also be a result of certain unhealthy habits like smoking or eating a diet poor in nutrients and high in sugar and starches. Either way, it means you’re going to have to work extra hard to stay on top of your oral health.

How Can You Prevent Tooth Decay and Gum Disease?

There are a few habits you can integrate into your daily life to minimize your chances of developing cavities and gum disease. These include:

  • Brush at least twice a day, ideally with fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to pay special attention to the gumline, as that is where plaque likes to build up.
  • Floss every day, between every tooth and behind your last molars.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables, yogurt, cheese, and other mouth-healthy foods.
  • Limit sugary snacks and beverages. If you’re going to consume them, brush your teeth afterwards.
  • Quit smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Cut back on alcohol consumption.
  • See your dentist in Longmont twice a year. They can diagnose gum disease and cavities while they are still in the early stages and easily treatable.

No matter what your genetic makeup is, it’s important to follow the steps listed above to take care of your teeth and gums. You can never be too careful.

About the Practice

At Longmont Complete Dentistry, Dr. James Maurer has been improving smiles for more than two decades. His son, Dr. Dan Maurer, couldn’t be prouder to follow in his father’s footsteps. They focus on preventive dentistry to stop cavities and gum disease in their tracks. To learn more about how to take care of your oral health, contact the doctors via their website or by calling (303) 772-7000.

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