What Your Family History Tells About Your Teeth

What Your Family History Tells About Your Teeth

September 1, 2019

You may have heard that candy is what causes cavities, but this isn’t the only thing that can increase the development of tooth decay. Genetics can also play a role along with any behaviors that you’ve learned while growing up.


genetics play a large role in how much risk patients may have of developing cavities. Your genetics can influence how much you enjoy or crave sweets and also affects the strength of the enamel and the composition of your saliva. If you notice that family members often suffer from cavities and tooth decay, you should speak with your dentist near you to discuss preventative treatment methods, such as dental sealants or the application of fluoride.

Learned Behavior

While genetics plays a large role in your risk of cavities and other health issues, our dentist in Fairfax has found that the link between how parents take care of their teeth and how children do the same is direct. Children learn from watching their parents, so habits like brushing and flossing as well as visiting the dentist are learned from authority figures. Teaching children early and maintaining good oral health is a good way to keep children’s teeth healthy.

Is It Genetic or Learned Behavior?

Your oral health status can depend on your behaviors as well as your genetics. Many patients are curious about the difference between the two and what dental issues are caused by genetics or learned behaviors. To make it a bit easier to understand, let’s look at some of the dental issues that may come from genetics as well as learned behavior.

Tooth Decay

The American diet is filled with sugary drinks and foods that can greatly contribute to tooth decay and the loss of teeth. These sugars feed the bacteria in your mouth and allow them to thrive, making your teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay.

Until recently, your dentist in Fairfax, VA, had not pinpointed the specific bacteria that cause tooth decay by eating away at the enamel. It was also a mystery as to whether or not genetics contributed to the presence of decay in teeth. Studies found that the bacteria that is affected by genetics is not responsible for tooth decay.

The bacteria that forms cavities is influenced solely by the environment of your teeth, such as how clean they are and how much sugar you ingest. Eating or drinking sugary and starchy items can significantly increase the development of cavities and oral health issues.

Crooked Teeth

Misalignment can be corrected using braces, but your genetics along with the environmental effect of your teeth grow in. The arrangement of your teeth depends on several factors, such as the number of teeth as well as their size. The size of the jaw also matters along with its alignment.

These components are mainly genetic but learned behaviors can also influence your alignment. Using a pacifier as a child or sucking your thumb can affect your tooth alignment. Improper positioning of the tongue can also cause teeth to become crooked or misaligned as they develop.

Speak with Your Dentist

If you believe that you have dental issues that may stem from genetics, speak with your dentist in Fairfax, VA, to learn more about your family’s history and how it can affect your oral health. Learning more about how your DNA can play a role in your health is essential in understanding your overall health and how to manage it. By knowing certain information, you may be able to prevent dental issues and keep an eye out for certain symptoms.

If you are a patient looking for a dentist in 22031 that can help you determine your oral health risks and go over ways to keep your teeth shining and healthy, schedule an appointment with a professional in our office. We can diagnose any problems you may have and provide treatment if it is needed. If your teeth are healthy, we can make sure they stay that way with preventative treatment from a dentist near you.

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