Ask most patients and they are quick to point out that dental health is dependent on three critical factors: daily brushing and flossing teeth, visiting a dentist Meath for a check-up, and limiting consuming sugar-laden and highly acidic foods and beverages. It may therefore come as a surprise that one’s oral health is also influenced by another source – one that you have no control over – the genes you inherit from your parents and grandparents.
There has never been more of a focus on dental health than now; a focus driven by the importance of how one looks and is perceived by others. One research study suggests that a job applicant with poor dental health applying for a client-facing role would see their chances of success lessened because of how they look – 77 per cent of respondents believed decayed teeth placed one at a disadvantage.
Some patients may find that no matter how diligent they are with their at-home oral hygiene practices, they may need certain dental care services like orthodontics for resolving crowded teeth issues. The DNA material that is provided by one’s parents puts one at risk of developing certain dental health conditions. Here’s a summary of how genetic factors can influence dental health.
Ways inherited genes play a role in oral health
DNA plays a significant role in the development of dental features such as the shape or size of one’s jaw and teeth. If a parent had overcrowding issues, it is likely too, that their children will develop similar dental problems. Orthodontic issues including misaligned jaws can impact oral and general health.
Advanced gum disease
Periodontal disease is commonly linked to poor oral hygiene and avoiding the dental practitioner’s chair; but advanced gum disease can also be the result of hereditary factors, particularly if there is a history of medical conditions such as diabetes in the family.
Cavities and tooth decay
Research has shown that presence of the gene referred to as beta-defensin 1 puts one at increased risk of cavities and tooth decay. Patients who, despite their best efforts at keeping their teeth and gums clean, still find the plaguing existence of cavities forming, would do well to have their dental health regularly evaluated by a dental practitioner.
Another dental condition that is also subject to genetics is oral cancer. While lifestyle habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are common risk factors for mouth cancer, scientific research has also pointed to DNA as a contributing factor.
Knowledge of one’s family history pertaining to medical health, including oral health, can be very useful in encouraging you to be more determined in seeking appropriate preventive dental care treatment.
While it seems that there are times when the genes that one inherits from parents (and there is no changing them) predisposes one to certain dental health concerns, there is much a patient can do themselves to protect their oral health. Dental bodies like the British Dental Association advocate that it remains the patient’s responsibility to safeguard their dental health and their smiles with regular professional dental check-ups in addition to paying attention to their home oral hygiene routine. Equally important are avoiding lifestyle habits including unhealthy eating behaviours that are known to contribute to dental disease. Dental practitioners have long advocated that early diagnosis and preventive care are crucial for successful outcomes.
Some clinics in Navan accept patients with NHS medical cards, be sure to enquire when making an appointment to see a dentist with your chosen practice.