You may have heard that people are genetically predisposed to certain conditions. Heart disease and cancer are often the most discussed because of their severity, but genetic predispositions exist among all areas of the body, including the oral cavity. Therefore, it’s worth having a genetic test performed to see if you’re at higher risk of developing conditions like gum disease.
Of course, genetics aren’t the only factor. Much of it also has to do with your lifestyle and oral care habits. Keep reading to learn how you can avoid the majority of gum disease in St. Peter.
How Genetics Influence Your Risk
There are many genetic tests on the market these days that help you understand not just your ancestry, but your predisposition for certain diseases. Some of the most common include cancer, heart disease or mental illness, but they can also determine your risk for gum disease and tooth decay. These predictive tests examine your DNA for markers associated with these conditions in order to give you a clearer understanding of your risk.
While this test can be helpful in understanding your genetic makeup, it’s always worth visiting a dentist to get a full understanding of your risk. While genetics do play a large role in your oral health predisposition, a dentist is better able to determine your risk based on your daily habits. They have the probing and measuring tools necessary to confirm the current health of your gums.
How Environmental Factors Affect Your Risk
According to the American Dental Association, lifestyle and environmental factors control more of your risk to dental disease than a single genetic marker. While it’s important to acknowledge, it’s difficult to argue that you shouldn’t be committed to brushing and flossing regularly. It’s hard to argue that your diet doesn’t play as much of a role in how much bacteria and dental plaque resides in your mouth at a given time.
Additionally, if you smoke or use tobacco, your risk of developing gum disease is substantially higher. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people who smoke have twice the risk for gum disease compared to nonsmokers.
The Ideal Oral Care Routine
Along with discontinuing your use of tobacco products, good oral care should involve:
- Brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
- Flossing daily, ideally before bed
- Visiting the dentist once every six months for cleanings and checkups
- Eating a balanced diet that includes dark leafy greens, dairy products, fruits and vegetables
When brushing, make sure to focus on the gum line and brush for at least two minutes at a time. When flossing, make sure not to snap the floss so you don’t irritate your gum tissue or wear down enamel. If you need to make improvements, the dentist will confirm that during your next checkup.
Schedule your next appointment with a family dentist in St. Peter today to stay on top of your gum health, regardless of your genetic predisposition!
About the Author
Dr. Jenny Miller earned her DDS degree from the University of Minnesota. Her and her team take the threat of gum disease very seriously, so if you believe you’re at higher risk or fear that gum disease may be present, you can contact her office to receive preventive and restorative treatments like scaling, root planing and at-home methods like PerioProtect. To learn more about her practice, you can contact her through her website.