You may already know the importance of maintaining good oral care habits such as regular brushing and flossing throughout your life, but is that really enough? Why do some people seem to have hit the jackpot in terms of healthy teeth and gums while others, in spite of their best efforts, are constantly struggling against tooth decay and gum disease? The answer, at least in part, lies in heredity.
If you needed braces as a teen or got them as an adult, the chances are excellent that you are not the only one in your family who did. That’s because your jaw size is dictated, at least in part, by your genetics. A look through your family photo albums might well reveal that one or more of your relatives had an overbite, underbite, crowding or gaps between their teeth that look a lot like yours did before you got orthodontic work done.
Even if you floss religiously and are scrupulous about brushing your teeth, you might still have reddened, sensitive gums that are prone to bleeding. This is a sign of gum disease, and you might have Mom or Dad to thank for this common but serious condition. Up to 30 percent of the population might have inherited a predisposition to gum disease, but that doesn’t mean you should live with it. Left untreated, it will ultimately lead to bad breath, infections and eventual loss of your teeth. Today’s oral care treatments are excellent at minimizing the progression of this disease.
It is not your imagination that cavities run in families; there is actually a gene for that. Talk to your children’s dentist about fluoride treatments and sealants that can reduce their risk. For you and other adults in the family, inquire about prescription toothpastes and mouth rinses designed specially to fight tooth decay.
Although this serious and sometimes fatal condition is usually associated with alcohol or tobacco use, it is also linked to heredity. If other members of your family have had oral cancer, minimize your risk by making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages. In addition, be sure to ask your dentist to carefully examine your tongue and mouth at every visit so that you can address any symptoms as soon as they arise.
Maintaining robust oral health is a life’s journey. While you may be dealt a particular hand at birth that includes a higher risk for certain dental issues, today’s medical technologies provide many ways to identify conditions quickly and prevent them from getting worse. Whether you are 19 or 99, there is an el paso dentist near me or you who can give you a comprehensive examination, discussing any burgeoning or chronic conditions with you and arriving at the most effective treatment.