Can Gum Disease Run in the Family?

February 3, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — puredentalspa @ 4:50 pm
woman brushing her teeth to prevent gum disease

Your height and hair color are far from the only things you can inherit from your parents. Genetics also plays a role in your health. Medical conditions like heart disease can often be unwittingly passed down through the family tree. This is also the case for dental issues, especially gum disease. Read on to learn whether gum disease can run in the family and how you can prevent it from wreaking havoc on your smile!

But First, What Exactly Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the tissues surrounding your teeth. It occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and gums. In the early stages, symptoms are relatively mild – your gums might be sensitive, red, swollen, or bleed when you brush or floss – but gum disease can cause permanent damage if left untreated. The infection might destroy the tissues keeping your teeth in place, causing them to fall out! Even worse, bacteria could spread to other areas of your body, resulting in systemic illness.

Is Gum Disease Genetic?

Research suggests that gum disease can indeed run in the family. If one or both of your parents has dealt with gum disease before, you have a higher chance of developing it.

Additionally, genetics can affect other risk factors for gum disease. For example, diabetes, which can also run in the family, has been linked to an increased risk of oral infections. Tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption can also worsen gum health, and both of these habits may be hereditary, whether due to genetics or the environment in which you grew up.

How to Protect Yourself from Gum Disease

Even if you’re genetically predisposed to gum disease, there are still steps you can take to reduce your risk. Luckily, most of these tips are straightforward things you should already be doing to maintain a healthy mouth and body. They include:

  • Spend two minutes brushing your teeth twice each day, paying close attention to the area where your teeth meet your gums.
  • Floss at least once a day. It’s the only way to remove lingering food particles and bacteria from the spaces between your teeth.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Too much processed sugar can feed harmful bacteria in your mouth, while fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that benefit your gums.
  • If you smoke or chew tobacco, consider quitting. Your dentist or doctor would love to point you toward resources that can help.
  • See your dentist for two checkups a year. Often, they can spot early signs of gum disease long before you’ll notice them. From there, your dentist can treat the condition before it causes lasting harm.

Knowing whether you have a family history of gum disease can help you take better care of your smile. Of course, your dentist is always happy to give more tips on preventing gum disease, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them! 

About the Practice

At Pure Dental Spa, we have a team of five dental experts who have combined their clinical skills to create a practice where families in Bloomingdale, IL can get all of their oral health needs met under one roof. We offer state-of-the-art laser gum disease therapy for patients who need it, and we pride ourselves on delivering care in a spa-like environment for your comfort. Our team would love to help you prevent or treat gum disease, and you can contact us by calling 630-307-3133.

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