December 11, 2018
The Top Five Inherited Oral Health Issues
Before we get into this discussion, we should stress that no dental health problem is purely the result of genetic factors. Oral health issues have many causes, including environmental and lifestyle variables.
That being said, your genetics can put you at special risk for certain conditions. Here are five of the most common examples:
- Periodontal disease. Commonly known as “gum disease,” the primary symptoms of this illness are tender, inflamed gums that are sensitive to the touch and which bleed easily. Left untreated, this condition can not only spread into your teeth but into the bones of your face as well.
- Tooth decay. Certain people are at special risk of developing cavities, due to variations in their genes that they inherited from their ancestors. Fortunately, this problem can usually be controlled by following the advice of your dentist. If you suspect you’re at high risk of cavities, then it’s especially important for you to brush after each meal, floss daily, avoid sweets and starches, and keep your dental appointments. Your dentist may be able to help you manage the condition with tooth sealants and fluoride treatments.
- Oral cancer. If your family has a history ofthis condition, then you must stay away from tobacco products of all kinds. Youshould also limit your consumption of alcohol and make a special effort to eata balanced, nutritious diet. Your dentist may recommend periodic oral examinations to check for signs of the illness.
- Misaligned teeth. You’re more likely to need braces if your parents or siblings wore them.If you’re a parent who wore braces as an adolescent, then you should schedule a visit to the orthodontist for your own child. The earlier that corrective treatment begins, the better the final results.
- Cleft palate. While this condition has many possible causes, we know that genetic factors can play a role.
Your DNA Is Not Your Destiny
it’s important to remember that genetics alone do not control your oral health. The steps you take in your daily life are still the most important factors. Fortunately, they’re also entirely under your control. With that in mind, here are four ways that all of us can safeguard our teeth and gums:
- Brush at least twice-daily, preferably after each meal, using a soft bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that bears the ADA seal of acceptance.
- Floss at least once per day. This removes food particles that brushing alone can miss.
- Use a mouthwash or dental rinse daily, preferably one with anti-cavity properties. Check the label or ask your dentist to recommend a brand.
- See your dentist in Southlake for regular checkups and cleanings. This is an essential supplemental step. Your dentist can spot oral health problems in their earliest stages, before they have a chance to turn into serious conditions.
None of us can rewrite our past. But all of us can give ourselves a brighter tomorrow by taking care of our teeth and gums. There’s not better gift you can give yourself on the verge of a new year.
About the Author
Dr. J. Lee Pettigrew is a native Texan with nearly 3 decades of professional experience under his belt. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. You can reach his office online or by calling (817) 481-4888.
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