There are plenty of traits that you’re probably more than happy to get from your parents, such as the color of your eyes or the dimples that form when you smile. But some traits are not as desirable, such as a genetic disposition to certain health problems – which can, unfortunately, include gum disease. Below is everything you need to know about how genetics can raise your risk for gum disease in Accra and what you can do to protect your smile.
What Does Genetics Have to Do with Gum Disease?
Most of the risk factors for gum disease are environmental, such as oral hygiene, smoking, diet, and stress. However, research indicates that some people are more vulnerable to gum disease than others, and such vulnerabilities can be passed down from parent to child. For example, a specific gene known as beta-defensin 1 (DEFB1) affects your body’s ability to protect the teeth and gums from the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Some families are deficient in DEFB1, and as a result, their risk for oral health issues tends to be much higher.
Other genetic factors that can make you more likely to develop gum disease include:
- Low-quality saliva that has a harder time protecting your mouth from dental problems.
- A weakened immune system that’s less capable of fighting off bacteria attacks.
- Certain other genetic diseases such as diabetes.
How Can You Protect Your Mouth from Gum Disease?
Even if your family history does put you at a higher-than-average risk for gum disease, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will develop it. Taking good care of your mouth can go a long way toward preventing gum disease and other oral health problems. Here are a few simple steps you can take to protect your gums:
- Brush at least two times every day to reduce the level of harmful bacteria and plaque in your mouth. Each brushing session should last a full two minutes, and you should pay close attention to your gum line during the process.
- Floss daily. This is the most reliable way to remove food and bacteria from between your teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach them.
- Eat a balanced diet to maintain healthy gums. Good choices include fresh fruits and vegetables, fat-free dairy products, and nuts.
- Visit your dentist every six months so that they can check for signs of gum disease. If they find any, they can perform periodontal therapy to prevent the problem from growing any worse.
It always pays to take the initiative when it comes to gum disease. Ask your family members if they’ve had gum health issues in the past, and get in touch with your dentist right away if you have any reason to think your gums might be infected.
About Bethel Dental
Here at Bethel Dental, our experts combine their skills with advanced technology to provide patients with comprehensive, personalized dental care. Periodontal therapy is among the various services we offer; if you have gum disease, we can diagnose and treat the issue to prevent it from spreading any further and putting your smile at risk. To schedule a periodontal appointment, visit our website.