You’ve probably heard that you have your mother’s eyes, or your father’s nose, but whose smile do you have? As tempting as it is to attribute a gorgeous smile to your genetics (or blame a flawed one on them!) only some of your oral health is a direct result of your DNA — some of it is up to you.

How Much Of Your Smile Is Genetic?

Blame Mom and Dad

Curious about how your teeth ended up in their positions? How your teeth are laid out in your mouth is a result of a lot of factors, like how many teeth you have, how big or small they are, the size of your jaw overall, your bite, and even your lips and tongue. All of those factors are strongly influenced by genetics — so if you have your mom’s lips, that may also mean you have your mom’s teeth. That could mean inheriting a straight set of teeth from your parents, but it could also mean inheriting some unattractive crookedness that you may need to correct with braces.

You may have also noticed that outside of environmental factors, some of your tooth color is inherent. Two different people with the exact same lifestyle and diet may still end up having slightly different colored teeth thanks to the natural color of their enamel and dentin. Thin enamel (which can result in teeth that are less white) is something you can inherit. Also, different factors in the womb can impact tooth color, such as exposure to tetracycline, a common antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections and acne.

If you’re bothered by a gummy smile, that can be blamed on your parents, too! A smile with an unattractive gum-to-tooth ratio can be a result of a short upper lip, excess gum tissue, small teeth, or some combination of those factors, all of which are genetic. Luckily, gum recontouring can often solve this problem and give you a more balanced smile.

Take Some Responsibility

Of course, you have to take some responsibility for the appearance of your smile! While genetics can give you crooked or yellow teeth, there are also plenty of ways that you can cause those problems without your parents’ help. The most common causes of tooth discoloration are tobacco use and dietary habits, and teeth can become crooked because of habits like thumb sucking as a child or nervous chewing on objects as an adult.

You also may have heard that a propensity for cavities is genetic, and while it’s true that genetics can impact enamel thickness, in general, you are responsible for your own cavities. To avoid decay, your best bet is to brush twice a day, floss daily, and see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

Whether your smile is a result of your choices or your parentage, you can still have the smile of your dreams! If you want to makeover your smile right here in Rockland County, just call (845) 627-7645 or contact us online to make an appointment. We would love to help you get a smile you’re proud to show off.