Can You Inherit Your Parents’ Dental Problems?

From baldness to a family heirloom piece of jewelry – many things are passed from one generation to the next. As we all know, certain medical conditions can be inherited as well.

What about the health of your teeth, mouth, and gums? Can you inherit your parent’s dental problems?

In a perfect world, you would only inherit your parents’ excellent oral hygiene routines and healthy teeth, gums, and mouth.

The reality is there are some genetic dental problems, dysfunctions, and diseases. It is very helpful to know your family medical history for many reasons, including your oral health.

Common Genetic Dental Abnormalities

Missing Teeth

Congenitally missing teeth, known as Anodontia, is where one or more permanent teeth do not develop even though baby teeth do. This hereditary condition can involve the absence of only some teeth or all of them. Missing certain teeth can result in spacing problems. Early diagnosis allows for proactive treatment options.

Extra Teeth

Having extra permanent teeth, known as Hyperdontia, is another hereditary condition.

The extra teeth may appear anywhere in the mouth and can be abnormally shaped. It is most common for these teeth to be small teeth with short roots and a cone-shaped crown. They are often seen in people with other genetic diseases or syndromes.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontonal (gum) disease is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene. However, research shows that up to 30% of the population may have a genetic predisposition for the disease. If close family members have gum disease, it is even more important to be diligent about your oral health care routine and to have regular dental cleanings and exams.

Bad Bite

A bad bite, known as a malocclusion, is caused by the jaws being out of alignment,crowded teeth or missing or extra teeth. Malocclusions often lead to temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) disorders and can be hereditary.

Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate

Clefting of the lip or palate is a common craniofacial deformity.

Cleft lip or palate can be seen alone are in conjunction with a hereditary syndrome.It involves an incomplete fusion of the lip or palate. A family history of cleft lip or palate increases the chances of its occurrence.

In addition to this list, there are other less common genetic conditions that can affect your oral health. Having as much information about your family history and staying proactive with your dental care, as well as overall health care, can be the most effective ways to manage anything that comes your way.


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Duane P. Delaune, D.D.S. earned his dental degree at Louisiana State University School of Dentistry, where he graduated fifth in the class. Delaune Dental began in 1990 with the passion of providing great customer service and exceptional dental care. Dr. Delaune loves the wilderness and often hikes or goes backpacking.

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