Why you Have your Mom’s Smile: The Genetics of Smiling

mother's day

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and you may have noticed your smile is just like your Mom’s. But what other teeth related things can you get from your Mother? Here are the genetics behind smiling and what you may have inherited from your Mom!

Crooked Teeth

You can’t quite just blame your Mom for the braces you had to wear growing up. Crooked teeth are a result of multiple factors. But many of these do have a genetic origin. Your jaw size, the number and size of the teeth, how your teeth come together when you’re chewing and the balancing forces between your tongue and lips all can be inherited.

Environmental Factors

Even environmental factors that can cause crooked teeth are steamed from habits that have a genetic origin too. If you suck your thumb or a pacifier, it can affect how aligned your teeth are. Also, habits such as pushing your tongue against your teeth can cause teeth to become crooked.

Shape of your Teeth

Have you noticed you have the same jagged tooth as your Mom? Scientists at the University of Zurich studied the development of teeth. They found that the Jagged 2 gene is needed for the development of healthy teeth. If you don’t have it, teeth crowns can be malformed and enamel can lack.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

While good dental hygiene is a far more important factor in whether you have cavities and gum disease, genes can have an impact too. Studies have shown that variations in the gene beta defensin1 (DEFB1) can increase risk as it helps fight germs. You can thank your Mom (or Dad) for this!


Have you ever noticed that your Mom’s teeth are yellowing just like yours? There is a reason for this. Genes can cause a malfunction of the protein in the enamel which can cause teeth to discolour. But don’t solely blame your parents for this. Proper dental hygiene can reduce cavity-causing germs and help keep your teeth pearly white.

Whether you’ve got your Mom’s smile or if you think you’ve inherited her tooth decay, make sure you maintain good dental hygiene. Book an appointment with Whistler Dental online or call us on 604-932-3677.