Though brushing twice per day and flossing once daily may prevent oral health issues, other problems have genetic roots. In addition to environmental or lifestyle factors, your family history and DNA play significant roles in your likelihood of developing tooth decay, periodontal disease, and cavities. Here are a handful of genetic conditions and what you can do to avoid them.

Oral Health Issues Linked to Genetics

Genetics affect the size of your jaw, determining whether you’ll develop an overbite, underbite, gaps, or crowding. Your genes also determine the strength of your tooth enamel, saliva, and sweet preferences. If you have soft enamel and weak saliva and frequently eat sugary foods, bacteria will be more likely to infiltrate your teeth, which causes tooth decay and cavities. When the bacteria in plaque hardens and becomes tartar, it irritates the lining of the gums and may progress into periodontal disease. A family history of gum disease could make you more susceptible, and when left untreated, may result in tooth and bone loss. Additionally, oral cancer, which affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year, is linked to differently expressed genes.

Preventive Measures 

periodontal diseaseThere is currently no test available to measure your risk level for developing genetic oral health problems. The best way to assess your susceptibility is by learning more about your family history. For misalignment, start orthodontics as early as possible to assist with the normal growth of bones and teeth. Prevent cavities by getting sealants and fluoride treatments from your dentist, brushing with prescription toothpaste, and scheduling biannual cleanings. Ask your dentist to screen you for periodontal disease and oral cancer during each visit, as early detection slows the progression and improves the prognosis.


If you’re at risk of developing oral conditions, make regular appointments with Gregory Sy, DDS & Associates. This Amherst, OH, dentist provides teeth cleanings, exams, and screenings to prevent cavities, periodontal disease, and oral cancer. Call (440) 282-9550 to schedule general or cosmetic dentistry, and visit the website to learn more about how they can promote the health of your teeth, mouth, and gums.