It’s easy to look at a celebrity’s perfect features and write them off as “good genes.” While there is definitely a lot of truth there, when it comes to the subject of your smile, you and your favorite celebrity are actually on the same level playing field.
“People love to blame their parents for bad teeth,” says New York cosmetic dentist Mojgan Fajiram, DDS. “They’ll have three cavities and say it’s because of their mom or dad. My next question is—well do you floss? How often do you brush? And they’ll come back saying, ‘Oh I only brush in the mornings or floss once a week.’”
You May Also Like: The Surprising Way Your Gums Are Aging You
While genetics do play a role in some aspects of your teeth—for example, the shape of your teeth and jaw—most cases of dental issues cannot be written off as a case of bad genes. “Things like the health of your teeth, gum and bones and common issues like cavities, periodontal diseases and bleeding have nothing to do with genetics,” says Dr. Fajiram. “Even things like the color of your smile—while you may be born with a certain tooth color, the yellowing of your teeth from failure to take care of them cannot be associated with genetic causes.” So what can bad teeth be attributed to? Improper hygiene and not putting in the effort to maintain the health of your smile.
Bottom line: At least when it comes to dental issues, your parents are off the hook.