Dentist Questions Gum Disease

Is gum disease hereditary?

Both my father and my grandfather suffered from gum disease before they died (they liked their chewing tobacco). And, while I don't do that, but I know a lot of diseases can be caused by a family history. Is it possible that I could get gum disease if both my father and grandfather had it?

16 Answers

It is usually not the case with gum disease. Gum disease is due more to home care and diet than anything else. Certain diseases in the body and its side effects in the mouth could lead to gum disease. You might share a common medical history which could have and effect on your gums. Of course you need to make sure that you get regular check ups

Research is showing a genetic component to dental diseases. However, in absence of disease, you shouldn’t have issues. So, maintain your dental health with regular visits and cleanings. Your home care is very important, so don’t neglect it. Brush twice, floss, and use fluoride mouth rinses.
Hope this helps.
Gum disease can be prevented by regular visits to the dentist. Also by brushing a minimum of twice and flossing a minimum of once a day.
While your family history can give you a predisposition to periodontal (gum disease), your habits and lifestyle choices can influence the development of that either positively or negatively. Avoid tobacco products, eat a diet low in processed foods and high in fruits, veggies, and foods you actually prepare at home (not from a box). Good oral home care including daily flossing and brushing 2-3 times per day as well as seeing your dentist and dental hygienist every 6 months are very important. You may want to consider having your dentist perform a quick 30-second saliva test so that the types of bacteria in your mouth can be evaluated, and if you do have high levels of bacteria associated with periodontal disease, you and your dental team can be proactive to prevent development of the disease.
Hope this helps!

In health,

Dr. Rankin
Periodontist would say that gum disease is prevalent and all patients to one degree or another depending on their level of efficiency in cleaning their teeth of bacteria and controlling plaque. How your body reacts to the level of the same would be an individual expression and subject to wide variance. A good rule of thumb is if you are over 40 years of age you should see a periodontist.
The short answer is yes, there is a genetic component to periodontal disease.

Jim Kline
While the increased risk of developing periodontal disease is hereditary, that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid it. Great home care and professional advice is key!

Mitchel Friedman

Yes, when it comes to periodontitis (gum disease), genetics is enormously important. However more than half of the population has periodontitis and it is the leading cause of tooth loss. For that reason everyone should assume that they are prone to this damaging disease and take preventive precautions to protect their oral health. Of the most important preventive methods do the following: 1. visit a dentist at least once a year and get a periodontal probing done 2. use an electric toothbrush 3. floss at least every other day 4. have a dentist examine your teeth for occlusal interferences. 5. Absolutely do not use tobacco products. There are other things to do, but these are the most important. Remember that we are expected to live to 100, and to have teeth in our old age, we must care for them when we are young.
It may be or may not be hereditary but you will be more likely to have this disease if you take your oral health lightly, visit your dentist twice a year for regular check ups and get professional hygiene done to maintain your oral health
It certainly is possible for gum disease to run in families, however you can’t ignore the fact that tobacco certainly contributed to your father and grandfather’s gum disease. Despite genetic predisposition to disease you can always improve your chances by practicing good oral hygiene and having regular dental checkups. Floss away my friend!
A short straight answer is that it is possible. A more complete answer is that it is not probable. There are more factors involved than family history. Do you chew tobacco? If not, you have a decreased risk. 360 degree cleaning around every tooth at least once a day is the best prevention. Passing floss between teeth and cleaning with an up and down motion of the floss is of the upmost importance. Think of rubbing each tooth with the floss like rubbing a dish with a wash cloth. Of course, you will clean the outside of each tooth with a toothbrush as well.

You can find much more about tooth cleaning techniques in my book: GROWING A HEALTHY CHILD, SECRETS FROM A WISE OLD DOC

While regular professional visits and “cleanings” are very important for a total prevention program, a daily 360 degree cleaning is the most important.
Although genes could play a small role in likelihood of having gum disease,  oral hygiene  practice and regular dental checkups/cleanings play the biggest role in prevalence of gum disease.
There can be a hereditary component to gum disease but usually it is habits that we have learned from our relatives that are what has been inherited. See a dentist and ask for advice on your home care. Simple improvements can make a huge difference in your outcome. Just because your relatives wound up in dentures does not mean you will. Come learn how to best maintain and preserve your oral health. Come see your dentist today!
It is still not believed that while gum disease is not hereditary, the predisposition to gum disease may be. There are other factors involved.



A family history of gum disease can increase your chances to develop a similar problem depending on the cause of your family's disease.  If both your father and grandfather practiced poor oral hygiene in addition to chewing tobacco, the cause might have been more due to their personal habits than genetics.  
Gum disease is certainly hereditary but it doesn’t mean you are doomed to suffer from it. You will be high risk, though, and you will need to be very vigilant in your oral hygiene, supplementation, immune support, and dental recall appointments.