Do Bad Teeth run in the Family?

Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Your genetics determine certain traits about you: your eye color, your hair color, and your blood type, just to name a few. Did you know that your family history also can impact your dental health—for good or bad? Read on as Dr. Nancy Hartrick of Hartrick Dentistry explores the issue of whether or not bad teeth can be hereditary.

Your genes can affect your teeth

Unfortunately, certain people are more likely to have problems with their tooth enamel or the development of their teeth due to genetic defects. Curiously, these enamel problems often can be linked to certain hair defects. Genetics also can affect your ability to produce saliva, a key defense mechanism in your mouth. Heredity also impacts your immune system and how you can fight off infection. This can raise your risk of gum disease or mean that an existing case of gum disease accelerates rapidly into its more serious stage, periodontitis. Depending on your genetics, you can also be at a higher risk for dental threats such as tooth decay and bruxism.

Your genes don’t define your dental health

If your hair is naturally brown, you can dye it to change its color. If your family history shows a predisposition for a cardiac condition, then you can make healthy choices to keep your heart healthy. Maintaining good oral health is no different. But, it does require the help of a dentist. For 28 years, Detroit general dentist Dr. Nancy Hartrick has provided the finest professional oral care for people just like you. Even if you’re genetically pre-dispositioned toward poor oral health, you can take steps to have a healthy mouth.

Step 1) Family Meals: They say that the family that eats together stays together. For many people, sitting around a full dining room table and eating a home-cooked meal seasoned with love represents a treasured memory. Those moments are beautiful, but the food you and your family choose to eat daily can be very detrimental to your oral health. Diet is one of the greatest risk factors for tooth decay. Our food choices as children were decided by our parents and often determine the foods we choose to eat as adults. Be an example by serving well-balanced meals with less sugary or fatty foods.

Step 2) Bad Habits: An author named Mignon McLaughlin once wrote that “In any family, measles are less contagious than bad habits.” We pick up our relatives’ bad habits and pass down those poor choices to our children. You learn how to care for your teeth from your parents. Oral hygiene is learned, not instinctual. If your parents didn’t regularly brush or keep with their dental cleanings, you are less likely to value oral hygiene. Anything from daily flossing to cavity treatment being ignored can be a bad habit learned from our families. That doesn’t mean you have to continue choosing poor oral hygiene.

Step 3) Say No to Tobacco: If you come from a house where everyone smokes or dips, you’re more likely to use tobacco products, statistically speaking. Consuming excess alcoholic beverages can be the same. Excess alcohol consumption, and using tobacco products is bad for your oral health. You know that it’s bad for your overall health, but it can be even more destructive for your oral health.

Step 4) In Sickness and Health: Even as an adult, many of us still crave our mother’s warmth when we are sick. Mom made you soup, brought you blankets, gave you medicine, and kissed away your pain. All these small acts of kindness might be soothing, but they also can spread harmful oral bacteria—and lead to new cavities. This is due to genetics. Your mouth has more in common with your close relatives because of heredity. That also means your mouths are likely to be equally good at cultivating the same bacteria.

Family Dentistry in Royal Oak

Bad teeth can run in your family, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to face major dental problems later in life. At Hartrick Dentistry, Dr. Nancy Hartrick and her team of professionals want to help safeguard the oral health of every member of your family. With state-of-the-art technology and elite training in the field of dentistry, we can help protect and repair your teeth to make sure they stay healthy and strong throughout your life. If you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of our oral care or you’d like to schedule a tour of our facility in Royal Oak, call (248) 549-0950 to schedule your consultation today.

Hartrick Dentistry proudly serves our patients located in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in General Dentistry