You can inherit a lot of things from your parents, such as the color of your eyes. But one thing that can be passed down between generations without anyone realizing it is a susceptibility to certain health issues. If your mother or father happened to be at a high risk for gum disease, then that might mean you’re more likely to see inflamed or bleeding gums in your own future. Your dentist can help you understand the link between gum disease and genetics in order to keep your gums safe.
Link Between Genetics and Gum Disease
Of course, there are many environmental risk factors for gum disease such as poor oral hygiene, smoking, diet, stress, and certain medical conditions; being proactive about dealing with these problems goes a long way towards keeping the gums healthy. That being said, however, genetics do still play a role in determining how likely you are to experience gum health issues.
There is a specific gene in your body called beta defensin 1, or DEFB1. It plays an important role in determining how well your teeth and gums are able to protect themselves from harmful bacteria and debris. Someone who is deficient in DEFB1 will be more likely to develop such oral health problems. So if you inherit a DEFB1 deficiency from your parents, it could increase the odds of suffering from gum disease at some point in your life. It’s not necessarily guaranteed, but it is something that you should be aware of so that you can make sure your mouth is adequately protected against infection.
How You Can Protect Yourself from Gum Disease
You should visit your dentist every six months for regular checkups and professional cleanings. If your mouth is at a higher-than-average risk for gum disease, or if you’re already actively suffering from a gum infection, you may have to schedule appointments more frequently to get rid of as many harmful bacteria as possible.
You need to be very strict about maintaining good oral care habits at home to get rid of the plaque that can build up in your mouth and irritate your gums. You should brush at least once in the morning and once at night; spend two full minutes brushing at a time, and do not neglect the gumline. Make sure flossing is part of your routine, as it’s the best way to get rid of any substances that have gotten stuck between your teeth.
As with any oral health issue, the best way to deal with gum disease is to make every effort to prevent it from happening at all. Make sure your dentist knows if you have a family history of gum disease so that you have the most control possible over your gum health.
About the Practice
At Bethel Dental, a team of experienced dental experts puts the latest technology to good use to provide the best possible care for families in the area. Among our many services, we offer quality periodontal therapy for anyone suffering from gum disease, and we’re happy to share advice for improved gum health during routine checkups. To schedule a periodontal visit, visit our website.