The Role of Genetics
Your genetics can play a role of varying importance in whether or not you tend to experience issues such as cavities and gum disease. This can be due to a number of factors, such as having less dense tooth enamel or missing a gene variant that helps your saliva metabolize certain elements in your food that lead to healthier teeth. If you’re missing this gene, your body could be missing out on certain elements which will cause your teeth to have more issues, which require you to be more consistent and diligent with your home care and diet. You can overcome having softer tooth enamel, which means cavity causing bacteria doesn’t have to work as hard to cause problems, by diligently applying fluoride toothpaste and rinses. If you have a genetic predisposition for these traits, it is even more important to be cautious when consuming acidic foods and drinks that can wear away at your already softer tooth enamel and affect saliva production.
By considering your family’s oral health history, you can help reduce the likelihood of facing the same issues yourself by being more strict with your diet, oral health routine, and regular dental visits. All of which make up the other 40%.
The Effect of Outside Influences
While only making up the other 40%, your behaviors involving oral health can still have a positive impact. Bad habits can make your genetic trend toward oral health issues even more apparent. Things like tobacco use and whitening too frequently can have a negative impact on your overall oral health. Tobacco use can negatively impact your saliva and increase the production of plaque, while using whitening products too frequently can soften your enamel. These things can cause issues even if you don’t have a genetic predisposition for dental issues, and can further aggravate these issues if you do.
Even if you don’t have genetics against you, you can still be influenced by your family in other ways. Things like sharing food and drink or kissing can swap tooth decaying bacteria between family members. They’re also the ones that you learn your oral health and dietary habits from in the first place, since we tend to model our young and adult behaviors after our parents.
If you’re facing oral health issues, or wish to take preventative steps to avoid them, contact Dr. Raymond Kenzik’s Periodontal office in Ormond Beach, FL to schedule a consultation.