Are Dental Issues Hereditary?
Dental issues can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, and they can have a significant impact on overall health and well-being, but are dental issues hereditary? While environmental factors such as diet and oral hygiene play an important role in dental health, there is growing evidence that genetics may also be a contributing factor.
After all, DNA and genetics play a crucial element in how a person is formed in the womb - and yes, that includes how their teeth develop. This is because genes are responsible for controlling the formation, size, shape, and structure of teeth. In some cases, genes can also result in a greater risk of developing certain dental problems. In addition to the dental conditions that can be directly passed on, it's important to keep in mind that there are other health conditions that can impact your dental hygiene as a side effect.
What Dental Conditions Can Be Inherited?
There are many different dental concerns that can be directly inherited, including:
Anodontia is complete tooth loss. It is, however, extremely rare. It's caused by an EDAR gene mutation, which controls the development of hair, teeth, and sweat glands. Though it's rare, it only needs one parent to pass it on. This is what's known as an autosomal dominant pattern. If you have it, it's so very important that you're upfront about it with your partner. Thankfully, there are many assistive tools, including dentures, available to help those with Anodontia.
Another condition that results in missing teeth is known as Hypodontia. Unlike Anodontia, those with Hypodontia may still have some teeth. In general, those who are naturally missing between one and five teeth (this doesn't include wisdom teeth, which may or may not appear) are considered to have this condition. In terms of what teeth go missing, that's usually the second premolars or the lateral incisors. This condition is also the most common type of dental abnormality and affects, on average, 1 in 18 people.
· Amelogenesis Imperfecta
Amelogenesis Imperfecta is a genetic disorder that affects the enamel of the teeth. You may be born without any enamel at all or have missing or even defective enamel on some teeth. This condition commonly causes malocclusion or misalignment as well. The good news is that it's relatively rare to inherit and will only affect around 1 in 7000 people.
· Dentinogenesis Imperfecta
Dentinogenesis Imperfecta is another genetic disorder that affects the structure of the teeth. Those with this condition will find their teeth are discolored or even translucent, despite good dental hygiene. The condition also makes teeth weaker and more prone to breaking or fracturing, so in addition to regular dental care, you'll also need to be very careful with what you eat.
· Cleft Lip and Palate
Cleft lip and palate are oral malformations that occur during the development of the fetus. As a result, the lips or even the roof of the mouth may not develop properly. Keep in mind that this condition can be inherited in either a dominant or recessive pattern. This condition can be inherited through one parent, though it can also be recessive. This means that it can occur if your grandfather had it, for example, but not your immediate parents.
What Other Genetic Conditions Can Impact Dental Health?
In addition to the dental conditions listed above, there are several other genetic conditions that can impact dental health. These conditions can affect the structure, growth, and development of teeth, as well as oral health, more broadly, meaning those with these conditions have a higher risk of dental concerns.
· Klinefelter Syndrome
Another genetic condition that can impact dental health is Klinefelter syndrome. This condition is caused by the additional X chromosome in males, which can cause delayed development of permanent teeth, missing premolars, and cleft palate.
· Apert Syndrome
Apert syndrome is another genetic disorder that can affect dental health. It is a rare genetic condition that results in the premature fusion of certain skull bones. This, in turn, can lead to many different issues like malocclusion, delayed tooth eruption, and crowding of the teeth.
· Mohr Syndrome
Mohr syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that is characterized by craniofacial abnormalities like the cleft palate we mentioned above, as well as a small tongue or even a notching of the upper lip. Dental problems associated with this syndrome include missing or malformed teeth. If you cannot close your mouth properly, then the excess air can result in your teeth and gums drying out, which in turn can lead to excess bacteria growth and gum disease.
· Tricho-Dento-Osseous Syndrome
Tricho-dento-osseous syndrome is another rare genetic disorder that can impact dental health. This syndrome affects the development of the teeth, hair, and bones. Dental problems associated with this syndrome include hypoplastic or poorly formed enamel, small teeth, and delayed tooth eruption.
Environmental Factors vs. Genetics
Genetics can and do play a part in many people's dental concerns, even tooth decay, but it is important to keep in mind that the primary cause of most dental issues is environmental. Poor oral hygiene, a diet high in processed foods and sugars, smoking, drinking, and even mouth breathing can all impact your smile. If you have any of the aforementioned conditions, then your risks are going to be even higher. Proper diet, habits, and routine checkups can help keep your mouth and overall health in far better condition.
Prevention and Treatment
Preventing dental issues starts with good oral hygiene practices and early diagnosis. Brushing your teeth regularly, flossing, and booking an appointment with a top American dental practice are all essentials. Those with these conditions, however, will likely need their own custom strategy in place in addition to regular dental hygiene practices, which must be done with our BAFDentistry experts, who understand these conditions and how to help.
In some cases, for example, genetic dental conditions may require treatment, such as braces, dental implants, or dentures. For individuals with missing teeth due to genetic conditions such as Hypodontia or Anodontia, dental implants or dentures may be necessary to restore function and improve appearance.