Is Gum Disease Genetic? Learn the Answer and Find Treatment

by | Mar 10, 2022

Since people often inherit health problems from their family relatives, you may be wondering, “is gum disease genetic?” There is a connection between oral health and overall health. Though good oral hygiene is important, genetics can influence your likelihood of having tooth decay and gum disease problems. No matter how well you think you care for your teeth, a genetic predisposition to oral health problems can increase the risk of gum disease. Fortunately, the best treatment for gum disease is actually taking preventative actions. Caring for your teeth with brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits will help prevent gum disease and treat any issues early on.

The Genetic Component to Gum Disease

Genetics is a risk factor for developing chronic and aggressive periodontitis or gum disease. Chronic periodontitis is a condition in which the gum tissue is persistently inflamed. On the other hand, aggressive periodontal disease involves the rapid deterioration of bone around the teeth at a young age.1

More research is needed to identify the genetic aspects of gum disease. However, experts have identified 38 genes with links to a greater risk of periodontitis.2

Other Risk Factors

Along with genetics, various risk factors may contribute to the development or progression of gum disease:

  • Age: Research suggests that older adults have the highest risk for periodontal disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of Americans aged 65 or older have some stage of gum disease.3
  • Tobacco use: Tobacco use is connected to numerous severe health conditions, including cancer and heart disease. Tobacco users are at an increased risk of periodontal disease due to the effects of smoking and chewing tobacco on oral health.
  • Stress: Stress can cause many negative health effects, including cancer, high blood pressure, and periodontal disease.4 When we experience severe, chronic stress, our immune systems are weakened and unable to fight off bacteria and other pathogens, including those contributing to periodontal disease.
  • Medications: Some medications can affect your oral health, such as contraceptives, heart medications, and antidepressants. Be sure to tell your dentist and periodontist about the medications you’re taking and monitor your oral health.
  • Oral habits: Clenching or grinding your teeth excessively can exert force on the tissues surrounding your teeth, weakening them.5
  • Systemic diseases: Diseases that cause inflammation can worsen the condition of gums, such as diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.6
  • Poor nutrition: A diet that includes a lot of sugar and processed foods with minimal nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system, making it more difficult to fight infection.7

How to Care for Your Teeth and Gums

Whether you have a genetic predisposition to oral health problems, taking care of your teeth is the best defense for gum disease and other issues:

  • Always practice good oral hygiene: Brushing and flossing twice a day are essential for maintaining your oral health, especially if you have a genetic risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Visit a dentist regularly: Even with a good oral health routine, it’s vital to visit a dentist for professional cleanings and exams. A dentist can identify potential problems before they become severe and will help you keep your teeth and gums in good health.
  • Stop smoking or tobacco use: According to the American Academy of Periodontology, smoking and other tobacco use is a significant risk factor for periodontitis. If you smoke or use tobacco, commit to quitting.
  • Eat healthily: Studies have linked poor diets to health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and periodontal disease. A diet without the right nutrients can affect your immune system and contributes to inflammation, both of which can lead to periodontal disease.
  • Get a periodontal evaluation: A periodontist is a specialist who focuses on preventing and treating periodontal disease. During a periodontal evaluation, your periodontist will examine your teeth, gums, and bone to identify any vulnerabilities and help you develop a good oral hygiene routine.

Gum Disease Treatment at Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester

Genetics may play a role in the development and progression of gum disease, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take control of your oral health. Gum disease treatment means having regular periodontal maintenance and cleanings to prevent gum disease from progressing into more severe stages. At Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester, we deliver excellent service to our patients with individualized care, integrity, and professionalism. Contact us today to schedule your consultation! 585.685.2005


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