What Role Do Your Genes Play In Your Oral Health, Expert Explains

From a healthy body to a life-threatening disease, anything can be hereditary. Even your oral health can be affected by genetic factors.

Varun Verma
Written by: Varun VermaUpdated at: Dec 11, 2022 09:30 IST
What Role Do Your Genes Play In Your Oral Health, Expert Explains

You might already know the impact that your genes have on your body and overall quality of life. Several parameters of your health are determined by your genes. From a healthy body to a life-threatening disease, anything can be hereditary and passed on from parents to offspring. But do you know that your genes can also greatly influence your oral health?

“A lot of oral deformities or disorders are seen because they came through the hereditary evolution from our ancestors,” says Dr Kishkindha (BDS) based in Ludhiana, Punjab, in an exclusive interaction with OnlyMyHealth.

Malalignment of Teeth

“When a young patient comes to us to get his/her teeth aligned, the first thing we ask is if his parents or grandparents had braces or not,” said Dr Kishkindha. “If the parents have a small jaw, the child is also likely to have a small jaw.”

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She highlighted that the most important aspect of malalignment is the crowding of the teeth, where your teeth tend to impact each other, especially the lower anterior teeth. This dental issue is also genetically inherited. 

Saliva Production

Saliva plays an important role in maintaining good oral health by washing out bacteria and food debris. If the saliva production is affected or gets reduced, it could lead to bacteria buildup, leading to dental problems ranging from bad breath to gum diseases.

“If parents tend to use cigarettes, chewing tobacco or other drugs, their saliva production will diminish, and this feature may be passed on to their children,” said Dr Kishkindha.

Cavities

It may be surprising to know but you may be prone to cavities if your ancestors had them. “Your teeth may appear intact from the outside, but the infection may have started erupting from the inside, affecting both bone and pulp of the teeth,” emphasised Dr Kishkindha.

Periodontal Issues

These issues include gum and involvement of tooth bone. “Ideally, signs of aggressive periodontitis, like loosening of teeth, bone loss, and gums recession should not be seen in young people, because this is the thing which is common in oldies. But if the parent has these issues, it can be transmitted through the genes to the next generation,” added Dr Kishkindha.

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Cleft Lip

Cleft lip or palate is another common abnormality that exists right from the birth of a child and happens because of the underdevelopment of the unborn child inside the womb. “The reason for this underdevelopment could be the absence of certain factors, such as enzymes inside the mother's body,” highlighted Dr Kishkindha.

Conclusion

“Every dental problem does not come from genetics. However, heredity and genes play a very important role in transmitting oral diseases or influencing oral health,” Dr Kishkindha adds, “all these issues depend upon the immunity of the next generation. If they are strong enough, it is not necessary that these problems will be transferred. But if further generations are immunocompromised then there are chances of development of any disease and not just oral diseases.”

Image Credit: freepik

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