Many patients at our Fountain Valley area dentist office often wonder if problems like cavities or weak enamel run in the family. These people are often surprised when they learn that yes, there are aspects of your smile that can be influenced by your genes.
Genes can determine quite a lot when it comes to your body. From the way your face looks and the color of your hair – all the way down to the most minuscule aspects of your existence, like the bacteria in your mouth. It’s certainly true that genetics can have an impact on your teeth – but how much? Today, our Fountain Valley Dentists take a look.
Cavities and Decay
While you’re not going to come away from this article with the ability to suggest that your cavities are the fault of your parents – you might win a little sympathy if you’re getting cavity after cavity despite stellar oral hygiene habits. The thing is, studies have shown that the bacteria in our mouths that influences the formation of cavities isn’t there when we’re born. Typically, we “pick it up” after birth – usually from a parent or relative. Interestingly, some bacterial make-ups have shown to be more or less resistant to the bacteria that cause tooth decay, which could ultimately work in your favor (or against it).
The bottom line: Chances are – if you get a lot of cavities you might be able to blame your parents. But it’s probably because they didn’t teach you good oral hygiene (or they helped you develop a taste for sweets) – not because of your genetic makeup.
Crooked or Misaligned Teeth
The way your teeth come in and the directions they choose to take when they do is dependent on a number of environmental and genetic factors. It starts with how many teeth we have, the size of our jaw, how our bite works, and how our mouths work together with our teeth. Then we sprinkle in behaviors (some of them, influenced by genetic factors)…like thumbsucking or tongue-thrusting, which can significantly alter the way your teeth line up.
The Bottom Line: in this case, yes. Your parents can most definitely contribute to your dental problems. Thanks mom!
If your teeth are yellow and you smoke cigarettes or chew chewing tobacco, you only have yourself to blame. On the other hand, if you brush, floss, and do everything your dentist tells you to – but your teeth are still a sheen of yellow. You might have your parents to thank. This is to say that – like misalignment – the color of your teeth is largely dependent on both genetic and environmental factors.
When it’s not what you’re eating, smoking, drinking, or chewing – the color of your teeth is largely influenced by genetics. For example – people whose teeth develop with a thinner enamel generally appear to have yellower teeth – whereas patients with thicker enamel tend to have whiter looking teeth. But then there are genetic factors that are far easier to track – like yellowing that happens as a result of exposure to medications like tetracycline while in the womb, or exposure to excess fluoride.
Fortunately for just about any, the properties of our teeth and enamel also make in-office dental whitening at our Garden Grove Dentists office a fast and straightforward process.
Have questions about your teeth? If you’re a patient in the Garden Grove our Fountain Valley area – we can help! Contact us today to learn about new patient specials and more.