Do you have your grandmother’s eyes? Your father’s dimple? Your mother’s curly hair? Many features can be inherited from past generations. While most things in your genetic makeup are harmless, others are not so appealing. For example, research has suggested that gum disease can be passed down as well. Luckily, you can still prevent it even if it runs in your family! Read on to learn more about this infection and the steps you can take to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that’s caused by an accumulation of harmful oral bacteria. The earliest stage of this condition is known as gingivitis or gum inflammation. If left untreated, it can turn into a more advanced stage known as periodontitis, which can eventually lead to tooth loss. The good news is that you can prevent (sometimes even reverse) gum disease with early intervention.
That said, here are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Bleeding when brushing and flossing
- Pus buildup between the gums
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
- Pockets of infection along the gumline
- Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
Is Gum Disease Genetic?
If gum disease runs in your family, you may be wondering if you’ll develop it one day. Well, studies have revealed that gum disease has a genetic component, meaning you’re more likely to have problems with your gums if the condition is in your family history. Aggressive periodontitis (a relatively rare disease that causes rapid bone loss around certain teeth) is more common among members of the same family. Luckily, being proactive and practicing good oral hygiene can lower your risk of the condition. It’s incredibly important that you let your dental team know about any genetic predispositions so they know to be vigilant during routine checkups.
Tips to Prevent Gum Disease
Believe it or not, the best line of defense against gum disease is by taking proper care of your smile. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your gums safe:
- Practice good oral hygiene. Make sure you’re brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing with an ADA-approved mouthwash.
- Eat a healthy diet. Overconsumption of sugar, fatty, and acidic foods can wreak havoc on your smile. Instead, stick to a well-balanced diet full of nutritious foods (i.e., fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, dairy products).
- Avoid smoking or using tobacco. These poor habits can weaken your immune system and make it harder for your gums to fight off infection.
- Visit your dentist regularly. A bi-annual checkup and cleaning allows your dentist to detect, prevent, and treat gum disease before it worsens.
Even if gum disease runs in your family, you don’t have to fall victim to it. By following the tips outlined above, you can ensure your smile remains happy and healthy – no matter what your genes say!
About the Practice
At Pure Dental Spa, we strive to help every patient achieve and maintain optimal oral health. Our team uses the latest technologies and techniques to ensure everyone receives the best treatment possible. If you have gum disease, we offer several custom-tailored options to help restore a healthy smile. Visit our website or call (773) 663-4665 to make an appointment today!