As genetic science explores more and more issues that bind us to our ancestors, it's not surprising to find out that something like your dental health might be predicted by your DNA. Dental problems run in families, and it's not just about the appearance of your teeth. Knowing about potential problems gives you an opportunity to take action and prevent that inherited tendency from negatively affecting you. Read on to find out more about some dental problems that could be passed on from your parents to you and from you to your children.
Cleft Palate or Lip
This abnormality is relatively common and known to be inherited. This type of defect can often be detected before birth, and knowing about the potential for it can help parents be prepared. Surgeries are often carried out soon after the birth, particularly if the defect prevents the baby from feeding properly. In some cases, more than a single procedure is required to correct the problem.
It's not necessarily your crooked teeth that you might have inherited from your parents, but your jaw shape and size. Jaws that are too shallow often mean less gum space and teeth that crowd together when they form. This pushes all of the teeth out of line. The opposite is also true. Over-sized jaws can create gaps in teeth. Any time your teeth don't meet properly, the problems go beyond the cosmetic. Decay, missing teeth, and gum disease can occur if teeth are not lined up. Braces can remedy the issues and more options for straightening the teeth are available than ever before.
Almost everyone gets cavities from time to time. This malady is usually caused by bacteria that morphs into plaque and tartar, both of which create problems with the surface of your teeth and invade your gums. If you think that you get more cavities than others, however, regardless of your good dental hygiene practices, you could be correct. You can inherit a gene from your parents that may predispose you to more cavities. Here, the beta-defensin 1 gene is the bad guy. Just knowing that you are more vulnerable to cavities should prompt you to pay more attention to keeping your teeth as clean as possible. Your dentist can help you keep your mouth decay-free by advising you about special dental rinses, prescription toothpaste, or sealants that can be applied to your teeth.
In many cases, oral cancer goes undetected and ends up being deadly. It can be hard to spot the tiny bumps that signal its beginnings. While smoking, alcohol use, and lifestyle choices can cause oral cancer, it may also be inherited. It's vital that you see your dentist twice a year because that might be the only way for oral cancer to be detected.
Speak to your dental care professional to learn more.