No one wants to visit their dentist and discover they’ve got genetically bad teeth, and yet, for some people, that just happens. And this of course prompts the question – did I inherit my bad teeth? The answer is a little tricky.

At The Practice at Mortlake, we’ve seen more than our fair share of bad teeth, and they all had slightly different root causes. So here’s the truth about inheriting bad teeth, and how you can know whether or not your bad teeth are genetic.

First of all, can you inherit bad teeth?

The long and short of it is that yes, unfortunately, you can inherit bad teeth from your parents. This can be particularly annoying to learn, especially if you’re doing everything right, and really making an effort to properly care for your teeth.

However, the things you can and can’t inherit are a tad more specific.

Misaligned Teeth

These are definitely inheritable conditions, and the chances are if your parent has misaligned, overcrowded, or crooked teeth, then you might also. This happens because we tend to inherit the shape of our parents’ jaws, and the shape of our jaws directly affects the way teeth fit inside our mouths.

Some mouth shapes are more prone to overcrowded or crooked teeth than others, and unfortunately, if that’s in your genealogy, then it’s quite likely you might have it also. Of course, the bright side is that we now have more orthodontic treatments available than ever.

And depending on the time in your life you visit an orthodontist, they may be able to prevent these problems altogether, also avoiding the need for orthodontic treatment.

Oral Cancer

Another big concern is, naturally, oral cancer. Having a family history of oral cancer can mean that you’ve inherited some of the genetic markers that put you more at risk of the disease. However, the risk of developing cancer is also heavily influenced by your lifestyle choices, diet, and dental care. So there’s no definitive answer on this one.

Tooth Decay

Genes can also put you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, and cavities. Once again, though, this may be preventable. So if you’re aware of such a problem in your family line, we recommend discussing your concerns with a certified dentist at your next appointment.

They may be able to assess your proclivity towards decay, and take measures to prevent that from occurring.

Gum Disease

Last but not least, gum disease is another condition you might be inheriting, simply because of a cell in your body, called a cytokine, which increases the risk of developing inflammation.

Bad genes aren’t the same as bad habits, though.

While it’s possible to inherit a proclivity to some oral afflictions, it’s more than likely to develop oral health issues due to poor habits. These can include lifestyle choices, and diet, but also how we care for our teeth since we learn that from our parents, as well.

Improper dental care at home can put us at risk of developing many dental issues – far more than genetics.