Are Bad Teeth Genetic?

As we all know, much of life is inherited from generation to generation. In the human species, people from the same family have similar heights, hair colors, facial features, the risk for disease, and more. This begs the question: how much of our dental health is hereditary and passed down from one generation to the next?

Most scientists have confirmed that there is most likely a combination of factors that result in the health of your teeth. Some may be genetic, but many of these factors are controlled by your environments, such as the food you eat, your oral hygiene habits, and how regularly you visit your dentist for cleanings and exams.

However, there is some recent research that may point to at least a link between genes and tooth decay.

“Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine have found that certain genetic variations may be the cause of tooth decay and aggressive periodontitis and have published two papers on the topic.

According to Dr. Alexandre Vieira, an assistant professor of oral biology at Pitt and senior author of both papers, the rate of dental caries can be influenced by individual variations, or polymorphisms, in a gene called beta defensin 1 (DEFB1), which plays a key role in the first-line immune response against invading germs.”

Though genetic dentistry is still in its infancy, scientists have identified five areas where genes play a role in tooth decay, according to CNN:

– Sweet preference

“All other factors being equal, the stronger your genetic “sweet preference,” the more likely you are to develop tooth decay.”

– Saliva strength

“Scientists have identified gene variants that make some people better at it than others.”

– Taste ability

“Taste ability is a measure of your ability to perceive a variety of flavors and foods”

– Microbiome

“In your mouth alone there are separate communities of bacteria on your tongue, on the surface of your teeth and below your gum line.”

– Tooth enamel

“Genes are the primary determinant of enamel structure and have a big effect on whether you get tooth decay.”

Watch the video below to learn what the American Dental Association has to say in regards to whether or not bad teeth run in the family:

Transcript:

“Bad teeth don’t necessarily run in the family, but bad habits do. So it’s important to start at a very young age with a very well-balanced diet, brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist.”

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