Are Good Teeth Inherited?

Many aspects of your overall health are given to you before you take your first breath. There are various aspects of your general health, physical shape and condition, and potential future concerns that are determined ahead of time. From the amount of hair on your head to the types of medical concerns you may have, many things are passed from one generation to the next.

What about your oral health including the health of your teeth, mouth, and gums? Can you inherit your parent’s oral health? Can you actually inherit their dental problems?

If it were a perfect world, you would only inherit the excellent oral hygiene routines and healthy teeth, gums, and mouth of your parents.

However, the reality is there are some dental problems, dysfunctions, and diseases that are genetic. It is very helpful to know your family medical history for many reasons, including your oral health.

Common Genetic Dental Abnormalities

Missing Teeth

Congenitally missing teeth, known as anodontia, is where one or more permanent teeth do not develop even though baby teeth have appeared as normal. This hereditary condition can involve the absence of only some teeth or all of them. Missing certain teeth can result in spacing problems as teeth come in and early diagnosis allows for proactive treatment options.

Extra Teeth

Having extra permanent teeth, known as Hyperdontia, is another hereditary condition.

The extra teeth can make their appearance anywhere in the mouth and can also be abnormally shaped. It is most common for these teeth to be smaller in shape with short roots and a cone-shaped crown. They are often seen in people with other genetic diseases or syndromes that go together with the oral health aspect.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontonal (gum) disease is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene. However, research shows that up to 30% of the population may have a genetic predisposition for the disease. If close family members have gum disease, it is even more important to be diligent about your oral health care routine and to have regular dental cleanings and exams.

Bad Bite

A bad bite, known as a malocclusion, is caused by the jaws being out of alignment,crowded teeth or missing or extra teeth. Malocclusions often lead to temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) disorders and can be hereditary.

Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate

Clefting of the lip or palate is a common craniofacial deformity.

Cleft lip or palate can be seen alone are in conjunction with a hereditary syndrome.It involves an incomplete fusion of the lip or palate. A family history of cleft lip or palate increases the chances of its occurrence.

In addition to this list, there are other less common genetic conditions that can affect your oral health. Having as much information about your family history as possible and staying proactive with your dental care, as well as overall health care, can be the most effective ways to manage anything that comes your way. Gather the information you can and always be sure to talk with your dental provider to be sure you are ready fro anything that may come your way.

In terms of your oral hygiene habits, whatever you have experienced in the past is over so what matters most is what you do today to provide the best care possible to your teeth and mouth. Establish or reestablish your oral hygiene habits with a commitment to brushing two times daily, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist regularly for checkups.

Nearly 30 Years of Dental Expertise

dentist-atlanta-meet-the-drDr. Hugh Flax has a passion for practicing dentistry. He takes great pleasure in changing patients’ lives through their smiles. He received his degree in dentistry at Emory University and began Flax Dental in 1987. Outside the office, Dr. Flax loves music, New Orleans, traveling and more music. Follow Flax Dental on Twitter and Facebook.

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