Did you know there’s a connection between family, genetics, and oral health? Most of us probably already know that genetics play a role in overall health, but the same goes for oral health. Have you ever seen a family full of healthy smiles? This may not be a coincidence and there are some surprising facts about the impact family and genetics can have on your oral health. I’ll share a couple today.

First of all, genes play a role in your risk of dental disease.

If you have a family history of chronic conditions such as heart disease, obesity, or diabetes, to name a few, you may also be at an increased risk of dental diseases, such as tooth decay and gum disease. That’s because there’s a proven connection between health conditions and oral health issues.

The good news?

Just because you’re at heightened risk doesn’t mean your oral health is completely out of your control. You just need to be a little bit more diligent. Practice good oral health habits. Be aware of your family history. Talk to your dentist openly and honestly about your family history.

Another thing to note, the bacteria that cause cavities are contagious.

This means cavity-causing bacteria can be spread from one person to another which is especially easy to do in a family. What does this mean for parents and caretakers? Helping children maintain their oral health, not only involves teaching them healthy oral habits but also maintaining your own.

teaching children healthy oral habits

After all, a child’s teeth are susceptible to cavities as soon as they break through the gums, so it’s best not to clean off a dropped pacifier by sticking it in your mouth or testing the temperature of food using their own spoon. You could be passing on cavity-causing bacteria without even knowing it.

Start implementing healthy habits early on using these tips.

  • Stop giving your baby a bottle by the time they are age one and encourage drinking from a cup instead.
  • Don’t put your baby to bed or nap with a bottle containing anything but water.
  • Limit nighttime feedings after the eruption of their first tooth.
  • Offer water, limit juice, and provide a balanced diet.
  • Brush your child’s teeth twice a day and take your child to the dentist by age one.
encourage children drinking from a cup

These early healthy oral habits will jump-start future healthy habits. Staying on top of your oral health is not only good for your mouth but the benefits extend to your overall health, it’s all connected. It’s so important to understand your family history so you and your family can take extra care as needed.

If you have any questions, leave comments below.

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