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Posts Tagged ‘healthy gums’

Genes & Your Teeth: What Did You Inherit From Your Mother?

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Mother’s Day is fast approaching. And while we love to spend this day in celebration for all our mothers have done for us over the years, one can’t help but wonder… What genetic features did I inherit from my mom – both “good” AND “bad”?

Features That ARE Related To Genes

Genes play a major role in the size and layout of your jaw. This means things like overcrowding of teeth, gaps, overbites, underbites and other misalignment issues can run in the family (1).

Gum disease, though not completely controlled by genetics, does seem to have a hereditary factor. Basically, some people in the population are more predisposed and are naturally at a higher risk for inflamed gums than others (1,2). Like any genetic predisposition, it does NOT guarantee your fate. It just means you might have to work a little harder than others. Proper hygiene habits can still keep gum disease at bay, so keep up your healthy dental behaviors!

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The color of your teeth is in part related to genetics. Genes play a role in the tint of your teeth, as well as how likely your teeth are to becoming stained. This is because the porous nature of the enamel is an inheritable trait. The more porous your enamel, the more likely stains can occur. Keep in mind that lifestyle and dietary choices will also play a factor here. Drinks like coffee, tea and red wine, along with certain medications can change the color of your teeth (3).

Problems That Are NOT Related To Genes

Although it’s tempting to blame our dental problems on our parents, things like cavities, decay, and gum disease from poor dental habits are more a lifestyle factor than a heredity issue. Anyone can develop cavities, decay, and inflammation in their mouth if they don’t stick to regular and proper oral hygiene practices.

Oral cancer is only minimally related to genetics, so if this one runs in your family, don’t stress. Lifestyle choices such as tobacco and alcohol use are the top risk factors for oral cancer. This means you can help prevent oral cancers by quitting tobacco, cutting back on alcohol, and eating a balanced diet (1).

Take Control: What You Can Do

Be thankful for traits and characteristics that you inherited that you love. After all, these are things that make you uniquely you!

Accept things you cannot change, and investigate options for the things you can. If crooked teeth or misalignments run in your family, ask us about corrective techniques such as Invisalign. If you are unhappy with the color tint of your teeth, talk to us about cosmetic dental procedures to whiten the enamel safely.

Keep your stress low. Taking steps to reduce your stress levels can positively impact your overall health, as well as the health of your teeth and mouth, which will minimize inflammation and disease (2).

No matter what your age or dental health history, start taking your proper dental hygiene habits seriously today! This is the best way to prevent more issues in the future and keep your teeth and mouth healthy for the rest of your life.

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Poor oral hygiene increases your risk for dental issues and oral disease no matter what your genetics. Although some individuals are more predisposed to develop tooth decay and issues than others, no one is immune from taking good care of their teeth. This means regular flossing and brushing, plenty of hydration, regular dental checkups, and reducing your overall sugar intake.

These habits and lifestyle choices play a much larger role in the long term outcome of your oral health than the genes you inherited from Mom or Dad. So let Mom off the hook this weekend, and have fun celebrating!

Call Hagen Dental Practice Today

Ready to schedule your next checkup? Or have a question about Invisalign, dental health, or teeth whitening services? We are here for you! Give us a call at (513) 251-5500.






This Is the Surprising History of Dental Floss

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Just how long have humans been flossing? According to the ADA, only 12 percent of us floss, even today… but our species has been flossing in some capacity for quite a while (6).

The earliest signs of floss were seen in prehistoric times. Grooves from food removal items were found in the mouths of prehistoric humans. Researchers and anthropologists think that horse hair was used as a rudimentary floss and twigs or pointed sticks as types of toothpicks. Our ancestors were creative!

Fast forward to the 19th century: In 1815, an American Dentist from New Orleans by the name of Levi Spear Parmly suggested that silk thread be used as floss for cleaning between teeth. He went on to publish a book emphasizing the importance of brushing and flossing daily! He was on to something (2, 4, 5)!

Half a century later, in 1882, the Codman and Shurtleff Company mass-produced and sold unwaxed silk floss. In 1896, Johnson and Johnson threw their hat in the ring with a silk floss made from the same type of silk that doctors used for stitches. In 1898, the first dental floss patent was granted to Johnson  & Johnson (2, 4, 5).

surprising dental factsChanges and advancements made their way into the 20th century. People were becoming dissatisfied with the tendency for the silk floss to shred. Couple that with the rising costs of silk during World War II, and an adaptation was imminent.

Dr. Charles Bass helped develop a new floss, in which nylon replaced silk as the main material. This floss had a more consistent texture and was resistant to shredding, making it a huge improvement over earlier versions. The use of nylon also allowed for the development of a waxed version of floss. In the 1980’s, interdental brushes were invented. These brushes are comprised of narrow bristles, but available in different widths to help clean the spaces between the teeth. This was touted as an alternative to flossing (1, 2, 3).

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So Many Choices!

Today, we have the luxury of enormous variety and choice when it comes to flossing. No more do we have to wander outside for the perfect twig or smelly horse hair to remove that kernel of corn or plaque buildup. Check out our diverse options:

Unwaxed floss – great for getting in tight spaces, but more likely to fray.

Waxed floss – more resistant to breaking, but harder to get into tight spaces. (Sometimes, it comes down to preference!)

Gore-Tex floss – made from high-tech synthetic fiber, and useful for cleaning around gums.

Dental tape – broader floss; most effective for cleaning between teeth that are not tightly spaced.

Super floss – the stiffer ends of this yarn-like floss can be guided through dental work, such as braces or implants.

Floss holder – a Y shaped plastic tool that holds floss between two prongs, making flossing easier for users. This is great for kids!

Toothpick – useful for cleaning around gums or dislodging trapped food, but has the potential to hurt the gums if pressed too hard. Just be careful you do not do damage to your teeth or gums. And it’s also not a good idea to have young family members try to use a toothpick!

Irritation devices – these motorized units flush debris from crevices and appliances, but do not completely remove plaque.

flossing is always a good choice_hagen dental

With all the great choices available to us to take care of our teeth, we really have no excuse not to incorporate some form of flossing into our daily routine! Find what works for you and aim to be consistent.

We Can’t Wait to Meet You & Your Family

Have any questions you want to know the answer to? We’d love to answer any of the questions you have! Schedule your next visit with Hagen Dental by calling us at (513) 251-5500.