Gum disease affects a large percentage of the adult population in America. Starting out as a mild form known as gingivitis, gum disease can worsen over time if left untreated. While gingivitis is characterized by swollen, tender gums that may bleed, the more severe form known as periodontitis can even result in tooth loss.

Risk for Gum Disease


Poor oral hygiene is one of the main contributors to the development of gum disease. However, there are more than a few other factors that can lead to periodontal diseases, such as –

Out of these, the American Dental Association classifies genetics and family history as a significant risk factor for developing gum diseases. People who have family members with a chronic history of gum diseases need to remain more vigilant about their oral health conditions. It should also be kept in mind that while the make of your genetics may not be in your control, your oral habits are. This is especially important for individuals with children, who tend to follow the example of their parents when it comes to caring for their teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding bad oral habits like smoking, etc. are good examples to set for the younger members of your family.

Other Oral Conditions that are Affected by Family History

Dental Decay:

One gene, in particular, has been linked to a greater risk of tooth cavities in adult teeth. Individuals who have a history of developing frequent tooth decay may benefit from prescription toothpaste and regular visits to the dentist. It is also advised to get dental sealants and fluoride treatments for your children if the risk of dental decay runs in your family.


Malocclusion, or misaligned teeth that may need braces, are also affected by heredity. The size of the jaw is largely determined by genetics, which in turn, can affect dental issues like crowding, gaps in teeth, or bite problems.

Oral Cancer:

Cancers of all types have a genetic association. While risk factors like tobacco or alcohol play a major role in oral cancer, certain people with specific genetic markers may be at a higher risk of developing the disease.