Many chronic diseases have genetic factors, and gum disease is no exception. While research is ongoing, scientists have identified 38 genes associated with the increased risk of developing periodontitis. One in particular known as the FAM5C gene is not only linked to aggressive periodontal disease, but also cardiovascular disease and other conditions associated with chronic inflammation. The good news is, knowledge really is power when it comes to genetics; once you and our Alexandria periodontist identify your particular risk factors, there are healthy habits and lifestyle changes you can make to keep your teeth and gums healthy and disease-free.
- Take extra care with brushing and flossing.
Everyone should prioritize these essential oral health habits, but those with elevated risk factors for gum disease need to be especially vigilant. If your gums already show signs of recession or infection, you may also want to ask our periodontal office about more frequent exams.
- Quit smoking.
The American Academy of Periodontology has identified smoking as one of the most significant risk factors for the development and progression of gum disease. If you make no other lifestyle changes, eliminating this one bad habit could dramatically improve your health and possibly lengthen your life.
- Eat a healthier diet.
Your immune system is tasked with fighting off infection in your body, including periodontal disease. A diet low in fat and high in lean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables is a simple change that can have a notably positive impact on your dental health.
- See a specialist.
Our Alexandria periodontist is a dental professional who specializes in the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. If you are genetically at risk for gum disease, schedule an appointment with our office to assess the current health of your teeth, gums and bone structure so you can create a customized plan of action to preserve your smile.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is important to your overall health. For most of us, regular dental visits and good oral hygiene habits are enough. But, for those who are genetically predisposed to tooth decay and gum disease, taking extra precautions and partnering with a dental specialist can provide you with the information, tools and resources you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy now, and prevent existing conditions from progressing. Contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS to schedule an appointment today.