Is Gingivitis Genetic?
You inherited your dad’s green eyes, and your mom’s red hair, and a host of their best features that make you who you are. You may have even inherited that disarming smile and high blood pressure passed down from your grandfather. After chatting with your family about dental health you might be wondering is gingivitis genetic. You may have concerns about whether it is something that you need to mention to your dentist. You may have concerns about the future of your dental health.
In order to understand the answers to the question of is gingivitis genetic, it can be helpful to have a full understanding of this dental disease.
Gingivitis is an early type of periodontal disease, and is often more common than many of us would like to think. Without proper treatment, gingivitis can pave the way to a host of more serious dental concerns. Periodontitis and the loss of affected teeth could be in your future if gingivitis is allowed to progress unchecked.
Signs of gingivitis in its easy stages includes swollen gums, bleeding gums, tender gums, and bad breath.
Causes of Gingivitis
There are several causes of gingivitis, with the most common cause being poor oral hygiene practices. Without a good oral hygiene routine plaque will form on teeth, which will then lead to a buildup of tartar. The gum line will soon become irritated from the increasing buildup of tartar and yet more plaque.
The longer that tartar is allowed to remain on your teeth, the more likely it is that it will irritate the gum line around your teeth. As time goes on, you’ll notice swelling in your gums, and also potentially bleeding when brushing and flossing.
Gingivitis Risk Factors
When asking is gingivitis genetic, it’s important to recognize that this is a common oral concern. There are a number of risk factors that can see you more likely to develop gingivitis. These include the following.
- Smoking, or the chewing of tobacco
- Age factors, as we age our risk factors for many diseases tend to increase
- Dry mouth, from illness
- Nutritional deficiencies, including lack of vitamin C
- Illnesses that impact body immunity, including HIV and diabetes
- Certain medications
- Hormonal changes, which can come about during pregnancy or menopause
If you are living with any or all of these risk factors, it seems prudent to determine your family history of this gum disease so that you can take the best next steps to protect yourself and the health of your teeth.
The Genetic Factor
Some dental patients are often observed as being much more susceptible to the development of periodontal disease and damage. Several studies have suggested that your genetic makeup does play a role in your potential to develop periodontitis.
As an example, aggressive periodontitis is a dental condition in which dentists see their patients rapidly losing bone around their teeth. Studies of family groups have noted that this is an issue seem to occur in families, and can even be traced back several generations.
As much as 30% of the population may have at least some genetic risk for developing periodontal disease in their lifetime, even with steps taken to prevent the onset of this oral disease. So does a history of gingivitis in your family tree mean that you are going to suffer the same oral concerns that your grandfather and his grandfather did?
Perhaps. But that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.
Despite having genetic risk-factors for the development of gingivitis, there are preventative steps you can take. First and foremost, it’s essential that you develop a solid relationship with a dental professional who will know your risk factors and family history. Routine checkups with your dentist will help to identify problems early. Early intervention can go a long way toward prevention.
Don’t skip your annual cleaning, either. Your dental hygienist will do more than keep those pearly whites sparkling. During your cleaning the health of your teeth and gums will be taken into consideration, and any additional work needed will be brought to the attention of your dentist.
Of course you know just how important it is to keep up with your dental care at home. Brushing after each meal, flossing, using a good quality mouthwash. Avoiding excess sugar, and fizzy drinks. Each of these considerations can go a long way toward helping you to keep your mouth healthy.
Remove tobacco products from your daily routine, and let your dentist know if you are any on medications or undergoing treatment for any medical issues. You may be surprised at how a simple commonly prescribed drug can take a huge toll on your dental health.
So is gingivitis genetic? There is certainly a genetic component to consider, and you will often find gingivitis diagnoses in family groups. However, with good dental treatment you’ll be able to minimize your risks and keep your mouth healthy. Keep up that oral hygiene routine, minimize your other risk factors, and ensure that your dentist is aware of every potential risk and concern that could impact your teeth and gums.