Ask a Dentist

May 26, 2023

Q: What Genetics Are More Likely To Cause Dental Problems?

Animation of two scientist and a huge DNA sample

You can thank your biological parents for your eye colour, blood type and height, but what about your smile? Heredity can play a contributing role in some oral conditions. 

Tooth development begins during the gestational process (the period between conception and birth) and typically ends by age 19. During this period, developmental dental issues can arise, according to Colgate. Some genetic defects that can affect your oral cavity are:

Amelogenesis Imperfecta

Mutated genes can cause a malfunction of the protein in the enamel. This results in your teeth appearing yellow, brown or grey, and teeth that break easily. This happens because the enamel is weak and it is the protective layer around the teeth that fights cavity-causing germs. It may also cause malocclusion or misalignment.

Dentinogenesis Imperfecta

This genetic disorder causes tooth discolouration to a translucent blue-grey or yellow-brown colour. The teeth are also typically weaker and more likely to become damaged. Both baby and adult teeth can be affected by this condition. 

Other Generic Oral Abnormalities

Other conditions that have a genetic component include:

  • Anodontia is the complete absence of teeth. This condition is extremely rare.
  • Hypodontia describes the condition of missing one to five teeth from birth. It’s a common genetic abnormality, affecting 1 in 18 people.
  • Cleft lip and palate are oral malformations that occur during the development of the fetus. This causes the improper formation of the roof of the mouth, the lips or both. 

Are Tooth Decay and Gum Disease Genetic?

The American Dental Association explains that there can be genetic factors that contribute to the progression of tooth decay and gum disease. However, environmental contributing factors like smoking, diet and poor oral hygiene play a big role in advancing these oral issues. 

If you’re concerned about your genes and how they can affect your oral health, speak with one of our dentists at Dental Image Therapy Centres today. Visiting us twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings can help our dental professionals identify any conditions that may affect your oral health. Where can you find us? Both Winnipeg clinics are located at St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre.

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