5 Hereditary Dental Disorders and Conditions to Watch For
Proper brushing and flossing and regular dentist visits are keys to good dental health. People who practise good dental hygiene are less likely to experience dental caries, tooth loss or gum disease, and they likely will have fewer dental problems later in life. Yet, beyond brushing and flossing, there’s another factor in dental health that’s beyond your control: Genetics.
Your genes may predispose you to certain dental issues, like gum disease, and can even make your teeth more susceptible to caries. Therefore, if your parents have had to make many trips to the dentist over the years, you may have to as well, and that’s why regular dentist trips and proper hygiene are especially important for you. In fact, research has shown that these five conditions may all be influenced by your DNA. They include:
Soft Tooth Enamel
Dental caries are caused when bacteria attacks the enamel of the tooth, causing it to decay. Brushing your teeth regularly helps to remove the bacteria and plaque, and tooth paste also replenishes the minerals the enamel uses for protection. Dentist cleanings (which are recommended twice each year) help to eliminate tough-to-remove plaque, another contributor to tooth decay. But beyond hygiene, you may have inherited softer enamel. People with softer enamel are more susceptible to dental caries.
Thin gums – which can be inherited – are fragile and there is insufficient gingival tissue to properly cover and protect the teeth and underlying nerves. Without proper dental hygiene, thin gums can lead to dental issues later in life. For one, the fragile gums are more susceptive to damage from over-aggressive flossing, and when the teeth aren’t fully protected, harmful bacteria can more quickly penetrate enamel and migrate beneath the gums. In turn, people who inherit this condition are more likely to experience gum recession. This can also leave people more susceptible to developing gingivitis or periodontal disease, a common condition in Australia, that’s a leading contributor to tooth loss.
There are a number of different inherited conditions that can affect the shape, spacing and alignment of the teeth. For example, Anodontia is a condition in which not all the teeth form, and some people even suffer from Hypodontia when all of the teeth fail to form. Finally some have extra teeth form, which can disrupt proper alignment. These conditions can become apparent after baby teeth have fallen out. In treating these conditions, your dentist may use dental implants, or it may require orthodontics or a tooth being pulled to ensure your teeth are aligned properly.
Deficient Saliva Production
Saliva is important for dental health in several ways. First, the enzymes in saliva attack plaque and stop it from forming and spreading, and it also neutralises the acids that are released by decay and bacteria. Plus, saliva delivers minerals like calcium and fluoride to the teeth, with helps to replenish lost minerals on the surface. Some people are genetically disposed to “dry mouth,” and this is one contributor to dental decay.
This genetic condition results in an abnormal formation of the teeth, which are mostly commonly misshaped and discoloured. The minerals in the enamel are also less likely to perform properly, and the teeth are more susceptible to caries, pitting and damage. There are many different types of AI, and each condition is treated depending on the severity.
Fortunately, you control your dental health. Regular brushing and flossing, as well as twice-yearly visits to the dentist can ensure your teeth remain free of cavities and that periodontal disease is avoided.