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09 September 2014

Fact or Fiction: Can You Inherit Bad Teeth?

“There’s nothing I can really do, both of my parents and even my grandparents had bad teeth. It runs in the family.”

Perhaps you’ve heard that phrase in a conversation, and you’re wondering if there’s any truth behind it. Can you really inherit dental problems? Is that 24-year-old with dentures simply a tragic victim of genetics?

As with most popular myths, the answer is “not exactly”. While there are a few genetic dental abnormalities, the answer is usually much simpler. Children tend to learn many things from their parents, and dental hygiene is one of them. If parents neglect the health and cleanliness of their teeth, then their children will be little different.

Of course, there’s a chance that you might actually be one of the exceptions. Here are some of the most common dental problems you can inherit.

1. Missing teeth – Also known as Anodontia, this is a hereditary condition where one or more of your permanent teeth don’t grow after the baby teeth fall out. Severity varies widely; you might be missing one tooth, or you might be missing all of them. Early diagnosis may prevent spacing issues and give you proactive treatment.

2. Extra teeth – At the opposite end of the spectrum, Hyperdontia is where you have more teeth than you’re supposed to have. These teeth can grow anywhere in your mouth, though they rarely come in large numbers. The cause is not entirely clear, but many believe that there may be a genetic factor.

3. Bad bite – There are many possible conditions that cause poor bite, and some of them are hereditary. The effects range in severity from a mild inconvenience to difficulty with speaking and eating. Thankfully, there are many advanced treatments, such as Invisalign, that can correct crooked, protruding, or otherwise imperfect teeth.

4. Gum disease – While the most common cause of periodontal disease is poor oral hygiene, some people are genetically predisposed towards it. In its advanced stages, gum disease severely damages the gums and bones supporting your teeth, causing them to fall out. If your family has a history of gum disease, oral hygiene is even more important.

Regardless of whether a condition is hereditary or not, a good dentist will be able to spot it immediately and give you the help you need. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you get a smile that you’ll love.

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