Is Gum Disease Hereditary?

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Scientific research into the causes of gum disease have indeed indicated that there is a hereditary factor in the development of gum problems. It is important not to take this statement out of context however, just because you are genetically pre-disposed toward gum problems, it is by no means certain that you will be as severely affected as your parents or grandparents were. However, it is vital to take extra care if your parents lost a number of their teeth to gum problems, particularly at an early age. This can often mean that you will be more susceptible to gum disease than others and will have to take extra care to keep your oral health in top shape.

If you are genetically predisposed towards gum problems then it is commonly recommended to talk to your dentist about their gum health during checkups. Make sure your dentist knows your family has a history of gum problems and that you'd like extra attention paid to their gums every time you go for a check up. As your children grow up, it is vital to teach them the importance of maintaining their oral health with regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups. In some cases, your dentist may advise you to take your children for a check up with a gum specialist to provide baseline documentation for the state of their gums.

Fortunately, there are more treatments for gum problems than ever before and the chances of you losing your teeth have become significantly reduced. If you suspect you are inclined toward gum disease, it is vital to see a gum specialist early on before you start noticing signs such as bleeding gums or loose teeth. By the time you notice such symptoms, the gum disease may have progressed beyond manageable levels.

Antibiotics can often be used to complement gum treatments such as non-surgical root planing in more serious cases. However, antibiotics without the use of root planing haven't been shown to have an appreciable impact on gum disease. Root planing is often required in more serious cases of gum disease, to lessen the impact and reduce the need for more invasive surgeries. In many cases however, some surgery is required to completely eradicate the remaining infection.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »