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The Impact of Genetics on Your Oral Health

Rodney Baier, DDS
September 18, 2023

Your family’s oral health depends on a multitude of factors. These factors include oral hygiene habits such as how often you are brushing and flossing as well as whether you maintain your routine dental visits. Another factor that you have no control over, is your genetics. Like many other aspects of your health, your oral health is also slightly affected by your genes.

While most oral health issues can be prevented by proper dental care habits, there are a few oral health problems that can be inherited. Regardless of genetics, we recommend that children visit a pediatric dentist for early detection. This first visit should be scheduled by age 1 or within six months of their first tooth breaking through.

Identifying these problems early may make it easier for you to take the proper steps necessary to prevent or correct them before they become a larger problem.

Misaligned Teeth

The crowding of or lack of straightness in teeth is one of the most common issues known to be passed down from generation to generation. If you have crooked teeth or had to have braces at some point, there is a good chance that your child will also be born with crooked teeth. Misaligned teeth can also be the result of having a small jaw. This is a facial feature that may not allow enough room for adult teeth to come in, so they become overcrowded.

Fortunately, there are several different orthodontic procedures that can help correct these issues, regardless of age.


Periodontitis, also known as periodontal gum disease, is one of the leading causes of early tooth loss. This is caused when bacteria in plaque builds between the gums and teeth and causes the gums surrounding those teeth to become inflamed. If the disease is left untreated and allowed to progress, these pockets surrounding the teeth deepen as the gum tissue and bone are destroyed.

Research has also found a genetic link to periodontitis as it often occurs in members of the same family, and some forms can even develop during childhood. Recent research has found that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to developing periodontitis. Studies have found that if your parent had periodontitis, you are 12 times more likely to have the same bacteria that lead to gum disease.

The best way to prevent periodontitis is to maintain your routine dental cleaning and exams while keeping your dental hygiene habits consistent and thorough.


Dental cavities are the most common dental health issue, affecting over 90% of the population. While they may be common, your dentist can help you identify ways to prevent their frequency. It can be something as simple as knowing not to take a sugar-based medicine right before bed and after brushing your teeth, identifying dry mouth, or increasing fluoride to strengthen your enamel.

If any of these oral health issues run in your family, speak with Dr. Baier and find out if you or your family are at a higher risk for developing dental health issues. There are plenty of preventative measures and treatments that can be done to combat almost all types of oral health problems. Knowing that you are genetically predisposed, simply makes it known that you must be diligent in preventing them.

Whether or not you’re already experiencing dental health issues, schedule your dental visit and make sure you discuss the best methods for restoring and maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

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